Over the past year, the British Christmas Tree Growers Association has been involved in a study about the biodiversity of Christmas Tree farms. The results of the study have been very encouraging indeed. At an open day event this week, Simon was lucky enough to take part in a discussion panel about the environmental benefits of Christmas Tree farming and looking ahead to a more sustainable future.
Christmas Tree Farms provide habitats for endangered bird species, such as the woodcock, as well as mammals and amphibians, too. The numbers of insects that make their homes on Christmas tree farms is astonishing, and this is especially noticeable at night-time.
When wildflowers are allowed to grow around the trees, pollinating insects also flourish. Across the industry, not a great deal of thought has been given to soil health, but this is beginning to change as we learn more about the amazing relationships soil fungi have with tree roots. Fungi can supply up to 80% of a plant’s nitrogen requirements, up to 100% of its phosphorous requirements and also provide water in times of drought. In return, plants allocate about 20% of their carbon intake to their fungal partners.
Essentially, Christmas Tree Farms provide habitats to sustain native wildlife, and their presence can enhance local biodiversity. Where farmers are able to create extra habitats on their land, such as hedges and ponds, biodiversity levels increase further.
This is something we have always been passionate about at Frenchay Christmas Tree Farm. Our native hedgerow, our wildlife pond, native woodland area, “No-Mow May” policy (and more latterly “In June, Let It Bloom”), as well as our encouragement of meadow flowers have all helped create a biodiverse habitat on our land. We thought you’d like to see some of the creatures we’ve noticed living here over the past year.
Baby frogs around the water butt