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Sylva at the Wood Festival

posted on June 4, 2009

Sylva plants ‘message’ trees at Wood Festival – May 2009

Alistair Yeomans plants the message trees with help from festival goers

Alistair Yeomans plants the message trees with help from festival goers

Our Director of Forestry, Alistair Yeomans, gave a tree talk and then, with the help of the festival goers who braved the rain, planted 10 special ‘message trees’ to celebrate Oxfordshire’s woodlands.  The Wood Festival was held at Braziers Park for the second year running.  A great line up of both local and international bands performed to over one thousand people on a stage constructed with locally sourced green oak and topped with a living Sedum roof.

Alistair described how sustainable woodland management, through working with and understanding our woodlands, can produce wood – nature’s ultimate truly sustainable and versatile material, while also providing a range of other essential benefits for man and nature.

The oak trees planted were 2m tall and five years old.  Each oak held a unique message promoting the benefits oftrees:

Air: trap pollutants, clean and condition the air that we breathe

Earth: stabilise and continually replenish soil nutrients

Water: clean water and can act as sustainable drainage systems which can help to prevent flooding

Fire: contribute through the burning of wood, a low carbon energy source

Wood: provide a range of natural wooden products and how wood can contribute to the ‘2016 zero carbon’ house

Ecology: every Oak tree provides a habitat for approximately 500 species such as butterflies (purple hairstreak), birds (woodpecker), mammals (dormice), plants (bluebells), fungi (essential decomposers)

Economy: provide a resource that can support our local economy and reduce our carbon footprint

Landscape: contribute to some of the beautiful landscapes of Oxfordshire

Climate: by avoiding deforestation and replanting the right tree in the right place, helping stabilise the global climate

 With the planting of the tenth tree, Alistair asked: “so what’s in an acorn?  Answer – One Oak.  He then introduced Sylva’s  new ‘OneOak’ project that will be launched later in 2009.

Sylva’s Chief Executive, Gabriel Hemery, then explained to festival goers the idea behind the OneOak project.  He said that “sustainable woodland management is a complex story.  Many people find it hard to understand why it is good to grow and fell trees for wood, even though wood is part of everyone’s lives.  The Sylva Foundation’s OneOak project will focus on one single oak tree.  We will bring the stories to life by demonstrating the real-life benefits of managing trees and using locally-produced wood.  We will celebrate the OneOak tree’s life, both as a living organism, and in what it provides for man and the environment after it is felled.  OneOak will be launched in late 2009.

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