A new £1 million fund to increase and diversify England's domestic tree production has been announced by the Forestry Commission and Defra.
The Tree Production Innovation Fund will encourage the development and adoption of new technologies to ensure more woodland is planted.
By 2025, the government is seeking to dramatically increase tree planting to 10,000 hectares per year in England.
The new fund will support nurseries to increase the domestic supply of young trees to facilitate an increase in tree production.
Applicants will be invited to apply for up to £200,000 in grant funding to support projects.
Projects must be designed to address challenges such as making better use of available seed and vegetative planting material to maximise the quantity, quality and diversity of trees produced.
Potential projects could also look at using innovative environmentally sustainable weed control solutions to reduce reliance on herbicides.
Forestry Commission Chair Sir William Worsley said: “I fully believe forestry needs to embrace new technology, and in turn we need to develop technology that can support the future of forestry.
"We need new and innovative ideas to drive this change and I’m pleased this £1 million funding will support nurseries to increase and diversify domestic tree supply.
“By enhancing the quantity, quality and diversity of planting stock available now, it will help our trees to be healthy and resilient to the impacts of changing climate and increasing threats from pests and diseases into the future.”
Lead applicants to the fund will need to be based in the UK and the Forestry Commission says it will welcome applications from consortia and new entrants to the sector.
The fund application window closes at 11.55pm on 8 September 2021, and successful projects will run for a six month period between October 2021 and March 2022.