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Impressive Biodiversity at Christmas Tree Farms

Impressive biodiversity results

Over the last year, the British Christmas Tree Growers Association have been closely studying biodiversity at Christmas Tree farms around the UK. And the results of their studies are very encouraging indeed! It’s clear that Christmas Tree farms are providing important habitats for native birds, bats, mammals, insects, amphibians and reptiles. In fact, their studies show impressive levels of biodiversity at Christmas Tree farms.

This is good news for UK tree farmers! It’s another good reason for customers to choose locally grown trees. It also proves the point that, when making decisions about what to buy, carbon footprint isn’t the only environmental consideration to be taken into account.

Summer flowering grasses at our farm

Wildflowers and insects

When wildflowers are allowed to grow around Christmas Trees, new grass and wildflower species begin to make their homes here. This in turn leads to pollinating insects increasing in number. In fact, the numbers of insects that make their homes on Christmas Tree farms is astonishing, and this is especially noticeable at night-time. They in turn provide food for birds and bats.

Spiders at the farm
Frog at the farm

Soil health and fungi

Christmas Tree farmers are beginning to gain a better understanding of soil health, too, as we become better informed 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. Every year, as our own plantation becomes more established, we notice new mushroom and fungus species around the farm.

Amphibians and reptiles

The BCTGA study shows that Christmas Tree farms provide good habitats for amphibians and reptiles, too. Here at Frenchay Christmas Tree Farm, we are finding increasing numbers of toads and frogs, particularly near our water butts and the pond area. Our many log piles make excellent shelters for amphibians. We have yet to see a slow worm but we are keeping our eyes open!

Birds, mammals and bats

With plenty of insects, seeding grasses and wildflowers, and fruiting hedgerows, birds can thrive. Christmas Tree farms have been found to provide excellent habitats for many migrating and native birds. We are very proud of our bird population at Frenchay Christmas Tree Farm – including woodpeckers, owls, greenfinch, goldfinch, goldcrests, sparrows and our rarest find, a woodcock. The younger areas of plantations attract migrating birds, while the pockets of tall trees provide excellent cover and roosting, too. We will be putting more bird boxes up this year and we are keeping an eye on our house martin boxes in the barn, as we are hoping to attract them to the farm. We have lots of foraging bat visitors, too, feeing on insects at night.

Bats at the farm
Orchid in the long grass

Creating habitats is the key

It’s clear that 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.

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