NEARLY 500 trees have been planted in South Powys in Wales as part of an environmental initiative.

Organisers at the One Life, One Tree project say the Brecon scheme, which allows people to offset their lifetime carbon footprint by planting a Giant Sequoia tree, could be the largest of its type in Europe.

The project says it purchased the Pen y Wern Wood site in April 2020, and the area of felled wood near the River Usk will soon be home to 500 Giant Sequoia trees, chosen for their fast growth rates and high levels of carbon retention, as well as 1650 native tree species.

"It took us a while to find the right site but we are extremely happy with this new location – over looking the River Usk and the Welsh Valleys," said founder Henry Emson.

"The site, called Pen y Wern Wood, was a recently felled forest that currently looks somewhat akin to a war zone, so it is all the more satisfying to know that we will be creating a sequoia grove that will store and continue to capture CO2 for centuries to come, never to be felled."

The project uses money paid by subscribers to purchase land in order to plant the fast-growing tree groves.

READ MORE: NRW welcomes Welsh Government's tree-planting ‘call to arms’

Sequoias are native to the United States, where they can grow up to 200 ft. A number of the trees were planted in the 19th century, including at the Royal Forestry Society's redwood grove in Leighton, near Welshpool, where some of the trees now stand at over 150 ft.

The team at One Life, One Tree say 1,000 people have signed up to the project, each paying £395 to plant a Sequoia.

The project says a Sequoia Grove can capture as much as ten times more CO2 per acre than a natural UK woodland over the period of 100 years, increasing over time.

However, Mr Emson said it remains important for people to reduce carbon emissions in the short term.

"It comes with the acknowledgement that people need to do more in the short term to reduce emissions and that planting trees takes a long time, but this is about a legacy," he said.

This story originally appeared in the Powys County Times.

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