New Research Confirms Trees Purify Water – Naturally

Each year, companies and landowners who manage water courses can spend thousands of pounds clearing lakes and reservoirs of foul smelling, and sometimes toxic,  algae commonly caused by nutrient runoff from farmland.

The UK’s leading woodland conservation charity, the Woodland Trust, cites an external study which concludes that planting trees is an effective way of preventing excessive algae growth - or eutrophication.

The Trust is offering companies and water managers the opportunity to invest in tree planting on their land, which can help reduce eutrophication.

Trees Purify Water This new partnership offer has sprung from an independent study entitled ‘Woodland Actions for Biodiversity and Their Role in Water Management’, which confirms that trees planted as a buffer between farmland and water courses or lakes can soak up the nutrients which cause eutrophication.

Tree roots also stabilise the soil, preventing contaminated soil particles washing into water supplies.

Stephen Hartford, from the Woodland Trust, said: "There are so many benefits of working with the Trust, which companies and water managers can enjoy."

"The Trust is pulling together and disseminating evidence and good practice, showing how trees can benefit water supplies.  Companies can use the Trust’s expertise not only in planting new woods and trees but also in restoring ancient woodlands planted with conifers.

"In addition we are experts in involving the public through organising tree planting events, and in giving our corporate partners the use of our brand to communicate their action to their customers."

One cause of eutrophication is nutrients seeping into the water supply,  causing algae to grow at a much faster rate, commonly caused by excess fertiliser draining off farmland. This algae can absorb all of the oxygen in a water course – killing life within it and causing a foul smelling mass to grow across the surface in algal blooms.

The study drew a number of conclusions which back up the Trust’s claims on the benefits of tree planting. Examples of the evidence are:

* A 30m riparian woodland buffer removed nitrate to less than detection levels in shallow groundwater by the River Garonne in France
* A 30m buffer removed around 80% of soil particles in run-off into a Pennsylvanian stream
* 99% of nitrate draining from arable fields in southern England during winter was retained within the first 5m of a buffer planted with poplar trees

For a full copy of the study or for more information on tree planting contact the corporate partnerships team on 01476 581 112.