Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), one of the species being planted in this project.

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), one of the species being planted in this project. Credit: polandeze/Flickr

Canonteign Falls near Exeter, England

Canonteign Falls near Exeter, England. Credit: Elliot Brown

Exeter, England

Key Activities:

  • Planting 1,000 trees across up to six acres
  • Enhancing the environment of local schools and engaging students in environmental protection and conservation
  • Connecting fragmented forest to create a wildlife corridor and improve wildlife habitat

Project Description:
Partnering with Devon Wildlife Trust, Alcoa Foundation and American Forests are planting 1,000 trees across eight locations in Exeter, England, in order to improve the environment around local schools and connect fragmented woodland into a wildlife corridor.

Why This Project:
While experiencing a major period of urban growth, Exeter’s residents want to ensure that growth does not come at the expense of wildlife or the urban forest. By planting a combination of up to 15 different tree species, this project is providing food and habitat for a variety of Exeter wildlife, such as blackthorn for the brown hairstreak butterfly and native fruit-bearing trees that provide winter food for Arctic migrant birds like redwings and fieldfares.

In addition, this project is training a new generation of tree stewards by engaging students from three local schools in the plantings and by incorporating environmental lessons from the plantings into the students’ curriculum.

Why Wildlife Corridors:
Like many humans, wildlife species need ample space to forage or hunt for food and to build their homes. In urban environments, greenspaces are frequently broken into small sections, which are often not large enough for many species to thrive. By focusing planting and restoration efforts in select locations that create continuous forest, this project is creating a single, linear wildlife habitat that is more suitable to a wider variety of species than the smaller, individual forest segments. Also, by choosing trees that are rich in nectar and fruit, this project is hoping to attract native species back to the area and increase populations quickly by providing ready-made food sources.

This project and another 2013 Partnership for Trees Program project mark our first restoration efforts in England. Interested in other forest reforestation projects in which we’ve been involved? Check out our Global ReLeaf page.