WINCHESTER University will plant 1,000 native trees as part of its pledge for a sustainable future.

Partnering with Rising Forests, an environmental business started by a second-year undergraduate, the university looks to create on-site woodland for wildlife habitat, and to reduce its carbon footprint.

The oaks, willows, beeches and pines will be planted before the end of the year.

Professor Joy Carter, vice-chancellor at the university, said: "We wanted to give our graduates a meaningful gift this year. These trees are symbolic of how the university has supported students to grow into the successful graduates we see today.

"The trees will be planted before the end of 2019, allowing them to grow with the graduates into the next phase of their lives.

"We hope that, as our graduates go out into the world, they will play their part in helping communities and individuals flourish, as future generations face a significantly different world. We can all make a real difference."

Rising Forests is an environmental organisation set up by Shaun Slaymaker, a second-year BA (Hons) business management student at Winchester, with support from the university's Inspiring Enterprise project and IncuHive, including office space, mentoring and business advice.

It aims to combat global climate warming one tree at a time, working closely with farmers and landowners across the UK to grow woodland and forest areas.

Existing planting locations include Cornwall, Norfolk, Snowdonia and Shropshire.

Mr Slaymaker said: "Tree restoration and reforestation is an effective solution to climate warming, but current plans only see the planting of trees in the millions, which is enough to absorb only the last five minutes of global emissions: we need trillions.

"Here in the UK we have one of the lowest levels of forest cover throughout Europe equating to around 13 per cent, nowhere near where we need to be to reverse climatic disaster and destruction.

"We're excited to be working with the University of Winchester on this initiative which will help convert land into valuable forest and woodland areas, essential for carbon sink expansion and biodiversity growth."