Climate change is creating new challenges in nature and conservation. Our summers are getting hotter and drier, and extreme rainfall events are more frequent. Our Partners have to adapt, and are doing so in new and creative ways.
At Blacknest Forest School in Berkshire, newly-planted hedgerow plants faced a tough time during the summer drought of 2022. The team acted swiftly, using wood chips to provide a deep mulch. This helped to reduce water loss from the soil and also reduced the need for constant watering during those dry summer months.
Ashburnham Place (pictured above) is on a mission to cultivate a two-acre food forest that mimics natural ecosystems. Its diversity will increase resilience against diseases, pests and a rapidly changing climate. To adapt to evolving weather patterns, the team have been experimenting with plant species that are more drought-resilient and better suited for extreme conditions. They are not only planting the typical, local species. So, for example, as well as planting the common fruit trees that you might expect, southern European varieties are also being introduced. They are also experimenting with new, non-invasive species like persimmon, papaya, pineapple, guava and pomegranate. Because of our longer, hotter summers, these species can now grow well in some parts of the UK. The result is a food forest that is rich in variety and environmentally sustainable. This diversification boosts the site’s biodiversity and provides a more resilient and varied food source for the future.
A remarkable initiative is taking root in West Scotland, in collaboration with one of our newest Partners, The Abernethy Trust at Kilmalieu, on Loch Linnhe. This ambitious project aims to restore 3,000 acres of Atlantic rainforest. Native trees are being re-planted in strategically-placed clusters to stabilise the soil on steep slopes. This will help to prevent soil erosion during extreme rainfall and will play a vital role in reducing peat runoff. Deer fencing will protect the newly-planted trees from grazing by deer and wild goats. This innovative, large-scale project reflects a dedication to sustainable land management and ecosystem restoration, and will help to establish a more resilient, thriving landscape.
Our partners are church clusters, community groups, schools, farms, forest schools, cathedrals, retreat, conference and youth adventure centres. Find out if there’s a Partner near you on our interactive map here.