New innovation funding is intended to support nurseries to increase and diversify domestic tree supply in England.
Launching next month, the Tree Production Innovation Fund (TPIF) is designed to encourage the development and adoption of new technologies and ways of working that will enhance the quantity, quality and diversity of planting stock available for tree planting in England.
There will be £1 million in funding made available in 2021/2022. Applicants will be invited to apply for up to £200,000 in grant funding to support projects that address one or more of the following challenges identified as barriers to tree production:
- Challenge 1: Making better use of available seed and vegetative planting material to maximise the quantity, quality and diversity of trees produced
- Challenge 2: Developing growing systems to enhance efficiency and resilience to change, whilst delivering improved quality and diversity of product
- Challenge 3: Using innovative environmentally sustainable weed control solutions to reduce reliance on herbicides
Projects can be standalone with output(s) that will be fully developed by March 2022 or pilot studies looking to establish the feasibility of longer-term projects. Lead applicants to the fund will need to be based in the UK and the Forestry Commission welcomes applications from consortia and new entrants to the sector.
Public bodies will be required to partner with private sector third party organisations to be eligible for funding.
The first round of the fund will open for applications in late July 2021.