Sustainable tree shelters in place for International Day of Forests

21st March is the International Day of Forests and BioCycle Innovations (IOM) are helping to plant trees more sustainably.

21st March marks the United Nations International Day of Forests. This annual day was incepted in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organise activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns or raising awareness of the importance of trees to all of our lives.

This article celebrates the day, with a focus on local company and Biosphere Partner BioCycle Innovations (IOM) Ltd and their efforts to help make the tree planting process as sustainable as possible.

In our Biosphere Island, we are faced with various challenges when it comes to tree health. We experience devastating diseases, harsh weather conditions and exposure, health and safety issues, and increased large scale developments. These factors combined create a noticeable impact and we have seen trees disappear from our nation in recent years, changing our landscape and causing problems relating to climate change, flooding, and habitat and biodiversity loss.

It is not all doom and gloom, as, despite challenges, there are exceptional efforts happening across the Island to restore and protect trees, as well as mass planting events in a bid to increase the number of and future proof the fate of our nation’s cherished trees. Trees in the Isle of Man are protected under The Tree Preservation Act 1993 and the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) administers the Act. You can find out more about DEFA’s tree protection work here.

When new trees are planted, they are protected by a tree shelter or guard, which you will have likely seen dotted around the Island in places where planting has happened. The shelter is essential to protect the sapling in its young years, as it stops grazing mammals from destruction and keeps off cold and harsh weather exposure which can further compromise growth. These shelters are made from plastic, which - if not removed - can have adverse effects on the environment when they break down.

Brand new Biosphere Partner BioCycle Innovations (IOM) Ltd identified an irony between the need to plant trees and the fact that the tree shelters used to do so are made of plastic. They have developed and now manufacture a product that is 100% plastic-free and biodegradable that can be used to plant new trees without the worry of the plastic breaking down and entering the environment.

The plastic-free tree shelters in place

BioCycle Innovations are now manufacturing their products on a commercially viable scale and have recently done some work with DEFA’s Forestry Team in the north of the Island, where the product was tried and tested, so you can go and see it for yourself.

Will Halsall and members of the Forestry Team hard at work planting new trees with a plastic-free tube

Local Manxman Will Halsall is Director and Shareholder of BioCycle Innovations and Shareholder of BioCycle Palmer. Will said: ’It’s a very proud moment to work with Andrew Kneale and the Forestry team at DEFA, planting 500 mixed broadleaf trees at Ohio Forest above Sulby (coincidently the neighbouring state to Pennsylvania), protecting them with our very first 100% plastic-free USDA BioPreferred® – 100% biobased-certified BioTube™ Tree Shelters - exactly what our UNESCO Biosphere Island deserves!’

Header image: Will Halsall and members of the Forestry Team planting up trees at Ohio Plantation, near Sulby, using the BioCycle Tree Shelters. 

Posted up on 19th March 2024


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