AN OXFORDSHIRE town is set to become the home for the UK’s first ever Tiny Forest.

Environmental charity Earthwatch Europe and Witney Town Council have partnered together to plant the Tiny Forest on Saturday.

Dozens of staff, councillors and volunteers will plant 600 trees on a plot the size of a tennis court, in response to the current climate and ecological emergency.

Recreating native woodland, the small and dense forest will improve air quality, provide a haven for wildlife and a space for people to connect with nature.

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Victor Beumer, senior research lead at Earthwatch Europe, said: “We are excited to be planting a Tiny Forest, the first of its kind in the UK, in partnership with Witney Town Council.

“At a time when it seems impossible to overcome the enormous challenge of the climate and ecological crisis, Tiny Forests offer a collaborative natural solution with far-reaching benefits.

“We hope to inspire individuals, businesses and government to take environmental action, by supporting a Tiny Forest in their local area.”

Four years after planting, Tiny Forests are shown to absorb 30 times more carbon compared to traditional planting schemes and attract more than 500 species of animals and plants, in addition to those planted.

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Furthermore, air quality is significantly improved through dust reduction and Tiny Forests provide up to 30 times better noise reduction compared to traditional schemes.

Witney town councillor Vicky Gwatkin said: “The global environmental crisis focuses the mind but also provides a tremendous opportunity to think outside the box, giving us the confidence to experiment and try new things.

“Tiny Forests demonstrate that, far from being a sacrifice, the shift to green can actually provide a range of other community benefits.

“It is a privilege for Witney to have the UK’s first Tiny Forest and massive thanks to Earthwatch and the efforts of our own council officers for enabling this to happen.”

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The idea for Tiny Forests originates from Japanese botanist Dr Akira Miyawaki during the 1970s.

Years later, Indian engineer Shubhendu Sharma reinvigorated the technique and since then over 3,000 forests have since been planted worldwide.

Earthwatch is now rolling out the concept in the UK, with the support of IVN Nature Education, a Dutch organisation which has planted close to 100 Tiny Forests in the Netherlands, a country which has a similar climate to Britain’s.

The pilot scheme will be followed closely by a second one in the county, as Earthwatch is planting a Tiny Forest in Oxford in partnership with Oxford City Council, at the end of this month.

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The charity is seeking other sponsors and land owners to help bring more Tiny Forests to the UK.

Earthwatch intends to plant more than 150 Tiny Forests by 2023.

Witney Town Council declared a climate emergency in June 2018 and is committed to ensuring that the town does everything possible to become net-zero carbon neutral and to ensure a cleaner and better future for the town’s residents.