A White Letter Hairstreak butterfly, one of the key species benefiting from this project.

A White Letter Hairstreak butterfly, one of the key species benefiting from this project. Credit: Chris Upson/Flickr

About the Trees for Telford ReLeaf Project:

All trees being planted are species native to Shropshire, UK and (where available) are being sourced from seed of local provenance. The land is a mixture of land owned by Shropshire Wildlife Trust, public land and private land with a long-term easement.

ReLeaf Location:

Telford, United Kingdom

Key ReLeaf Activities:

  • Planting 6,000 trees across 12 sites
  • Restoring a woodland that was affected by forest fragmentation
  • Engaging the community in environmental action and improving understanding about trees and the environment

Why This ReLeaf Project?

American Forests and Alcoa Foundation are partnering with Shropshire Wildlife Trust to restore habitats. The UK’s high human population and small area mean that wildlife habitats and populations are becoming isolated islands. This leads to a small genetic pool and populations vulnerable to environmental change or disaster.

Restoring and reconnecting habitats at a landscape scale means that parks, farmland, gardens, schools and businesses all play an important role in allowing wildlife to thrive. So tree planting must not be limited to forest sites.

Why Fragmented Woodland Restoration?

Fragmented woodland habitats are home to a range of wildlife that indicate the health of the environment. Butterflies, such as the white letter hairstreak, have declined because their habitat has disappeared — its source of food, the elm tree, has been devastated by Dutch elm disease. Wildlife populations are now in isolated pockets and themselves more susceptible to disease and climate change. Populations can be linked into one “meta-population” by creating corridors and stepping stones across the landscape.