FRANCE – Orne: planting chestnut trees and douglas firs

© Plantons pour l'avenir

Background & challenges

Yves, a retired farmer, is keen to implement a long-term project by transforming an old apple orchard, currently abandoned, into forestland.

This planting operation represents the second step in a project, over 35 hectares, to boost biodiversity, honey and forestry production through the presence of quality trees. The resulting plantation, comprising 6.8 hectares of chestnut trees, 2 .6 hectares of Douglas firs, and 0.6 hectares of cork oaks, will be sustainably managed in line with PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) systems.

Yves will reimburse 80% of the donations received within the years to come. This money will then be used, through PLANTONS pour l’avenir, to kickstart further projects of a similar type for other beneficiaries.

Project type

Forestry

Beneficiaries

Yves, a retired farmer from Saint-Fraimbault in the Orne (department in northwest France)

Number of trees

11,400 planted for a mature stand of 2,120 trees

Species planted

Forest trees: chestnuts (1,030), Douglas (1,040), and cork oak (50)

Operator

PLANTONS pour l’avenir

© Plantons pour l'avenir

Works timeline

Groundworks: removing plant cover and working the soil surface, followed by tilling

Planting: spacing of 3.5 metres between the rows and 2.5 metres along the rows for a density of 1,140 saplings per hectare

Upkeep: for the first five years, mowing low-lying vegetation along every second row, then manual clearing. Progress of the afforestation will be closely monitored. Pruning will be carried out, if necessary, to ensure the trees grow straight

Thinning (selecting the least robust trees; the others, diseased, split or damaged will already have been removed): first thinning operation after around 12 years for the chestnuts, 15 years for the Douglas firs, and 25 years for the cork oaks. Then, every 7 to 10 years to gradually increase the densities per hectare up to 80-100 for the cork oaks, 150 to 200 for the chestnuts, and 400 for the Douglas firs

Felling: When 40-years-old and over, some of the chestnuts might be cut down if showing signs of disease or to make way for younger saplings in the forest. Indeed, chestnut tree stumps put out new stems that form younger coppices than the initial trees planted. The oaks will be managed over a 120-year-cycle, with some felling so new acorns can grow – giving rise to a forest with trees of differing ages, which is better for biodiversity. The Douglas firs will be grown over a 50-year cycle, felled (and put to good use), followed by fresh planting.

Operator

Created in September 2014, the private endowment fund PLANTONS pour l’avenir is both apolitical and independent. Supporting reforestation in France through sustainable management forms part of its general public interest mission to defend the natural environment.

The trust falls perfectly in line with the French law on the future of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (N° 2014-1170, 13 October 2014, article 67), which acknowledges public interest: ‘the protection and promotion of woodland and forests together with reforestation based on sustainable management.’

Budget

The total sum to be raised amounts to €25,016. Yves, the beneficiary will self-finance this project to the sum of €32,824.98.

 

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