Project information

Recovering from ash die-back

Not all our ash trees are doomed to die from ash dieback. We need to ensure the trees that have natural resilience can be selectively bred to ensure they produce the maximum amount of timber. Only then will people be interested in planting ash trees and the future of this iconic species safeguarded.

three to five years

Charity information: Future Trees Trust

Future Trees Trust logo
  • Need


    Few people currently want to plant broadleaved trees for timber because they are likely to produce poor quality mature trees and consequently very low economic returns. The resulting spiral of decline in our broadleaved woodlands has major consequences for our environment, our wildlife habitats, economy, future well-being and the very nature of our countryside.

    Our work could increase timber yield from future trees by up to 40%, making broadleaved trees far more economically attractive.


    Once the improvements our work is producing are clear, the nurseries that are members of Future Trees Trust will be able to add a small premium to the cost of improved trees sold bearing the Future Trees Trust logo. This will be passed on to us and within a few years, we hope to be able to support all our other tree-breeding research through payments received from improved trees in this way.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To clearly demonstrate the improvements our tree-breeding work has achieved.


    » Source 10 suitable sites across GB and Ireland to host demonstration plots. Each plot will be assessed for its suitability to grow different species.
    » Plant improved trees, sourced from our own breeding programmes, alongside un-improved trees to compare their growth, form and disease resistance.
    » Manage and maintain each plot for 10 - 15 years to ensure that the trees are provided with the optimum growing conditions - fencing, weeding, mowing.
    » Bring people to each plot to see the improvements our work has made - landowners, MPs, foresters - to convince them to plant improved trees in future.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by the increased growth rate, form and disease resistance of the improved trees in the demonstration plots compared to unimproved trees grown alongside

  • Impact


    The project will encourage more people to plant more and better trees, as the economic returns from doing so (40% more recoverable high quality timber), combined with their disease resistance (resulting from a huge genetic diversity) and greater CO2 sequestration will make them more atractive to anyone considering planting trees.


    Tree diseases pose a constant risk, but the broad genetic diversity of our trees provides them with the best possible resistance to many diseases.
    The long-term nature of all tree-breeding work poses risks, but we will only establish demonstration plots where we can agree long-term support with those managing the plots.
    Severe weather conditions are a risk to all tree schemes but our trees will experience far more care and management to protect them from extreme conditions than other trees.


    We will issue twice-yearly updates on our progress, successes, challenges and achievements. At any time, donors are welcome to visit our research orchards to see the improvements our work is making and we will hold annual field days for donors to show how we have used their donations.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £11,950

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      Amount Heading Description
      £2,000 Initiation Collect seed from orchards and other sources and process it appropriately
      £3,350 Preparation Sowing seeds and raising plants in a nursery, fencing site and preparing ground (if necessary)
      £2,000 Maintenance Maintenance (e.g. biannual weeding, maintaining access, etc at £200 a year for 10 years)
      £3,000 Assessment Periodic assessments of growth and form of trees (at £600 a time)
      £1,600 Analysis Statistical analysis of data from field assessments (at £400 a time)

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Anon £1,000 Guaranteed
    The Cobb Charity £500 Guaranteed
    H. B. Allen Charitable Trust £5,000 Guaranteed
    Ratcliff Foundation £2,000 Guaranteed
    Fitzwilliam Charitabel Trust £1,000 Guaranteed
    N. Smith Charitable Trust £750 Guaranteed
  • Background


    We need to establish TEN demonstration plots across Great Britain and Ireland, on land that is being donated to Future Trees Trust by landowners keen to participate in our work. We have received many such offers from concerned landowners and are presently assessing each plot of land for its suitability to host long-term demonstration plots.


    In the long term, anyone that has an interest in, cares about, has a passion for or loves our broadleaved woodlands will benefit from this project, as will countless species of woodland flora and fauna and the environment, as far more wildlife habitats are created and more CO2 is sequestered by domestic broadleaved trees.

    Our economy too will benefit from an invigorated domestic timber industry, less reliant on imports and creating thousands of jobs in the forestry sector and allied trades.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Nobody else in Great Britain or Ireland is doing the tree improvement work that Future Trees Trust is undertaking. We alone are pioneering tree improvement in broadleaved trees - there is no-one else! Our membership comprises the foremost tree researchers, geneticists and foresters in Great Britain and Ireland, all of whom donate their time freely to further our work (we have only one member of staff).

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jo Clark

    Jo is Forestry Research Manager at Earth Trust and FTT's research coordinator. She is designing each plot and sourcing planting material.

    Steve Lee

    Programme Group Manager for Genetic Improvement at Forest Research and chairs our Research Committee. He works closely with Jo on demo plot design.

    Dr David Boshier

    Senior Research Associate, Dept. of Plant Sciences, Oxford University. David created and oversees breeding strategies for seven broadleaved species.