RETURNING to the show calendar for the first time since before the pandemic, Interforst was back with a bang. Forestry Journal joined thousands of guests at Messe München last month, as 31,000 visitors and more than 300 exhibitors ensured there was plenty to see. In this series of articles, we provide a small taste of what was on offer. 

LONG before chainsaws, harvesters and forwarders get in on the action, trees have to be put in the ground. But getting them in there is only the beginning. 

Protecting trees in those early years is one of the most important parts of the job, and so it'll be no surprise to hear that a wealth of tree shelters are out there for foresters, land managers, and forest owners. 

With focus increasingly turning to climate change, some of forestry's biggest names (including the Woodland Trust) have pledged to switch to plastic-free products, with demand on the rise. 

One such company trying to scratch that itch is Sirane, a major packaging supplier, and at Interforst general manager Michal Sedek was proudly showing off the firm's Earth Packaging shelter, which is plastic free and completely compostable. 

READ MORE: Inventor Andrew Gray reveals 'novel' solution to reuse plastic tree shelters

"These tree shelters are made from unique cardboard, which is fully compostable," he said. "So they can be left in the forest and after two years they disappear. 

"It's got non-toxic colours and made from non-toxic cardboard, so it's absolutely toxic-free. It's helpful for all nature.

"We produce it in different lengths and sizes. We can have different widths, heights, and so on.

"As they are fully combustible, the added value for forestry is that you don't have to go and pick it up again. That's a time and money saver. It's very good for the environment. 

"We have just entered into the Central European market, but we are in the UK, US, all over the world.

"Demand is very good. We are very happy for that." 

One worry some foresters have is that non-plastic tree shelters don't provide the same protection as the 'good old-fashioned' plastic. Opinion on the qualities of the alternatives differs, but, unlike other options, Sirane has one major feather in its cap. 

"They provide protection from snails. Other plastics they can go up and inside but not this one. They don't like it.

"If you touch it, it feels like a sandpaper. They don't like it at all."