UK “Super-trees” could be reproduced
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Tuesday, 16 July 2013 10:47


A £2m scheme devised by an American conservationist could see the UK reproducing and giving away some of the largest, oldest and most ecologically important trees to schools, councils and landowners. The scheme could see cloned oaks, yews and firs  from ancient forests reproduced and grown in all parts of the UK. 

Super genes

Conservationist David Milarch says that he and his team are searching out the largest trees in the UK in an effort to replace what has been lost to deforestation over the last few hundred years. He points out that the largest trees have what he calls “super genes” which make them more likely to survive and that they have already proved they have weathered climate change and a move to industrialisation. Each tree will be cloned to achieve exactly the same genes.

The eventual production of an archive of the UK's most important trees will be available to people for a donation or for free. Milarch says that he has never sold a tree and that his aim is merely to make them available.

Specialist advice

Milarch is backed by the founder of the Eden Project, Sir Tim Smit and Sir Richard Branson. He is also receiving specialist advice from forestry experts who work with Prince Charles. It is hoped the work to start cloning will begin this summer.