The Energy Blog JE partners Parishes in £60,000 scheme to plant community micro-forests

Island-wide initiative in fight on carbon emissions

Jersey Electricity will help every Parish plant a carbon-absorbing micro-forest so the whole Island can play its part in the fight against climate change and speed Jersey’s journey to carbon neutrality.

The densely planted, native, miniature forests would be around the size of two or more tennis courts and are proven to grow rapidly and absorb carbon. At an initial meeting with the Comité des Connétables, all 12 Connétables backed the idea and are currently seeking out possible sites in their respective Parishes.  They aim to have the first forest planted by end of the 2020-21 planting season with the remainder planted by the end of  the 2021-22 planting season.

Jersey Electricity CEO Chris Ambler said: ‘Jersey Electricity has been hugely committed to sustainability and the environment for many years.  Having now virtually completely decarbonised the Island’s electricity system, we are exploring all avenues to help the Island achieve its net-zero ambitions.  Our large, three-year tree planting project at Le Mourier Valley, in partnership with Jersey Water, Jersey Trees for Life and the National Trust is now well underway, and we are keen to do more in the community and with the Parishes.

‘Micro-forests have been proven to have a positive impact on carbon sequestration and biodiversity in other countries and planting projects are powerful ways of rallying the community to get involved and take action to restore the environment at a local level. We want to help extend tree and shrub planting across the Island by partnering with the Parishes and Jersey Trees for Life and providing £60,000 for Island-wide native tree planting and regeneration that would give every Parish a micro-forest.

‘We hope that all members of the community will get involved in planting, including children, families and pensioners working alongside Parish officials, Jersey Electricity employees and planting experts, Jersey Trees for Life.’

Chairman of the Comité des Connétables, St Lawrence Deputy Deidre Mezbourian, said: ‘The Connétables are enthusiastic about this project and see this as promoting all that is beneficial about the Parishes and the Island community working together. Micro-forests will help to meet public concerns about climate change and could have a very meaningful impact on the Island ecology.

‘As Connétables, we are wholly supportive of this excellent initiative of the JEC. Parishioners who would like to get involved with the scheme should contact their Parish for further details.’

Micro-forests have emerged as an ecological concept gaining ground across the world. Based on a forest management methodology developed in the 1970s by Japanese botanist Dr Akira Miyawaki they are indigenous, natural and densely planted plots of wasteland that grow more quickly and absorb more carbon dioxide than other plantations. The result, according to experts, is an ecosystem complex perfectly suited to local conditions that can grow 10 times faster, generate 100 times more biodiversity and absorb up to 40 times more carbon than traditional planting.