FRANCE – Meudon forest 2022: planting sessile oaks and various fruit trees to replace diseased chestnut trees

State forest of Meudon © ONF

Background & challenges

“The RED forest” is a project launched by RED by SFR via its #REDsponsable program. It is reserved for donors from its community to plant healthy trees in the devastated forests of the Ile-de-France region.

In 2018, chestnut trees in forests to the north of Île-de-France were found to be declining due to a pathogen causing the devastating chestnut ink disease. Provoked by an organism found in soil water, this disease penetrates the root system of trees and triggers rapid necrosis. The tree can then no longer take in water and becomes extremely susceptible to drought. It can die in just a few days.

The chestnut tree, a species closely associated with Île-de-France, grows particularly well in Meudon forest –  where it boasts a a 30%  occupancy rate. However the damage is such that in 2018, the forest was classified as being in a health crisis. When the trees are diseased or dead, the ONF must then resort to sanitation cutting, followed by replanting with more resistant species for healthy reforestation.

By clearing and replanting 5,000 trees on plots 55 and 56 (3.05 hectares), the project seeks to:

  • restore forest cover that is more resilient to climate change thanks to the species introduced;
  • protect the habitats of deer, wild boar, foxes, badgers, endemic birds like the woodcock, and amphibians, as well as many species of beetles and lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). Furthermore, the forest is also home to the royal fern, a rare and hence protected species;
  • restore rainwater filtration to the forested area. Meudon forest is key to tackling erosion in the region;
  • sequester carbon in the soil, branches, and trunks.
  • and in the long run, produce timber by working this forest 160 years from now.

Project type

Forestry

Beneficiaries

The inhabitants of neighbouring communes who regularly visit this forest

Number of trees

A total of 5,000  to be planted, of which 4,100 trees (80%) will remain after the first thinning operation (30/35 years after planting)

Species planted

Sessile oak, Atlas cedar, hornbeam.

There will also be natural growth of species like birch, cherry, chestnut…

Partner

Office National des Forêts

The selected plot, as well as the number of planted and long lasting trees, may change according to the amount of donations collected by RED by SFR.

Planting teams from Office National des Forêts in action ©ONF

Works timeline

  • Early October 2022: preparing the soil and tillage;
  • December 2022: planting starts;
  • From 2023 on: removing partitions, if necessary, to make pathways for ease of movement and maintenance of the reforested plots;
  • From 2025 on: replanting (planting new trees) if the mortality rate exceeds 20%;
  • From 2026 on: clearing will take place every five years to remove competing vegetation (brambles, ferns, etc.) and so ensurethe young trees regain the light
  • First thinning operation, 35 years after planting (felling a certain number of these trees to boost overall tree growth by reducing competition);
  • Working the forest to harvest oak timber, 160 years from now.

Planting partner

The territories under the wing of the Office national des Forêts (ONF) cover nearly 11 million hectares of forest, of which 6 million in French overseas departments and 4.7 million in metropolitan France. With a workforce of around 9,000 deployed across the whole territory, the ONF is responsible for the renewal and upkeep of 1,300 state-owned forests and 15,600 community forests. Managing public forests reconciles three inseparable objectives: meeting human needs by producing and harvesting timber, environment protection, and welcoming the public. The approach is based on the forest regime, which provides a regulatory framework and set of guarantees for preserving forests over the long term, while ensuring renewal of timber resources.

BUDGET

The total budget to be collected is €73,800  or €18  per tree, broken down as follows:

  • 95% allocated to the planting project, i.e. €17.10 per tree
    • Plot studies and development: €1.57
    • Soil preparation: €2.56
    • Plants (purchase and planting): €2.43
    • Protective measures (purchase and installation): €4.10
    • Technical follow-up of the plantations: €2,30
    • Project engineering by the endowment fund ONF-Agir pour la forêt: €1.44
    • A Tree for You collection, monitoring, and communication costs of (15%): €2.70
  • and 5% (90 centimes) for A Tree for You overheads

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