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Growing Connections

Growing Connections


Forestry Commission’s Tree Production Innovation Fund (TPIF)



PI and Project Team Members

Liz Trenchard, Samantha Green and Gabriele Warwick


October 2022 - March 2025

Project overview

Growing Connections investigates the potential of alternative, more agroecological approaches to tree production in which many small community nurseries produce a diverse range of locally sourced, locally adapted trees. Community tree nurseries may form a small proportion of the tree production sector but they provide many social and environmental benefits in their local area and their contribution to the diversity of tree stock produced is invaluable.

Growing Connections aims to:

  • Explore the current contribution of innovative community tree nurseries to the tree production sector
  • Understand barriers currently faced by community tree nurseries in the UK
  • Identify ways to best support them now and in the future, with a focus on tree procurement by buyers, record keeping and biosecurity

Impact statement

The Tree Production Innovation Fund (TPIF) was designed to encourage the development and adoption of new technologies and ways of working that will enhance the quantity, quality and diversity of tree planting stock available for planting in England.

By 2025, the government is seeking to significantly increase tree planting to 10,000 hectares per year in England. To meet these planting targets requires a dramatic increase in the UK production of tree planting material.

Growing Connections researches the development and adoption of new ways of working in the community tree nursery sphere, that will enhance the quantity, quality and diversity of planting stock available for tree planting in England to provide outputs that will better equip nurseries to supply the trees required for new woodlands and urban planting projects.


  • Focus groups findings report
  • Journal article on drivers for supply and demand
  • Presentations at academic conference and trade events
  • Report on sustainability and resilience of community tree nurseries
  • Produce practitioner focused article (based on workshop, case studies and focus groups)
  • Presentation of initial results at acacdemic conference
  • Feasibility study on CTN standards
  • Co-designed guides on biosecurity and record keeping for community tree nurseries
  • Map of UK tree nurseries
 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023