Cannock Chase tree planting aims to replace fossil fuel

Image caption, The first crop of Eucalyptus could be ready to harvest by 2024

Thousands of native Australian trees have been planted in a beauty spot in Staffordshire to harvest as an alternative to burning fossil fuels.

The Forestry Commission has planted 4,700 eucalyptus trees at Cannock Chase country park near Rugeley.

It said the trees would be more resilient than the existing conifers to warm weather and wetter summers, possibly symptomatic of climate change.

It said eucalyptus grows about four times as quickly as conifers.

Gordon Wyatt, district forester at Cannock Chase, said: "They have been planted on a trial basis to see how well eucalyptus will grow on re-stock sites at Cannock Chase.

"We will be looking at how they cope with frost, deer browsing, rabbit damage and competition from weeds and drought."

He said he hoped the first crop of eucalyptus, planted in an area the size of about seven football pitches, would be ready to harvest in 10 to 14 years time.

There are plans to plant 5,000 more eucalyptus trees alongside the conifers at Cannock Chase in 2011.

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