Adrian Kershaw told Arlene Stuart of BBC Scotland's Landward the reasons behind the plastic tube removal and replacementA huge project to reduce the amount of plastic waste in woodlands has begun in southern Scotland.Plastic tree tubes were introduced in the late 1970s and an estimated 200 million used across the country.However, times have changed and the Borders Forest Trust (BFT) is removing hundreds of thousands of them.A biodegradable alternative - made from wool and a polymer of cashew nuts and castor oil - is being introduced in the land near Moffat and beyond.The BFT operates at three sites across what it calls the "wild heart" of southern Scotland.The Borders Forest Trust operates across a large swathe of southern ScotlandThey are the Carrifran Valley, Talla and Gameshope, and Corehead and the Devil's Beef Tub.It has been credited with transforming a once bare area into a wooded glen.Adrian Kershaw, of the BFT, told BBC Scotland's Landward programme that the plastic tubes had played an important role since they were first brought in."The tree tubes serve a vital purpose when you are trying to establish a woodland," he said."They provide protection from things that may want to eat the sapling trees - voles, other small rodents and deer."They also protect against the elements and provide some sort of shelter from that to help the saplings get away throughout the year."They can also help us establish trees in areas where there may be competing vegetation."The tubes have a vital role to play in protecting trees and allowing them to growHowever, they have now created something of a headache for the BFT which has planted a huge number of trees in the hills near Moffat."In effect we have one for every tree that we have planted - so over 250,000," explained Mr Kershaw.He said they were not always good for the tree and could provide a home for moss but the biggest problem came once the tree was bigger and the tubes should split and fall off."Then it is just litter, in effect, plastic scattered all over the hillside," he said."There is no doubt at all that this plastic needs to come off the hillside."They are in the process of removing hundreds of thousands of tree tubes while trying out the new fully biodegradable tube over the winter."It is made from British wool and a polymer of cashew nut and castor oil," said Mr Kershaw."This will last - depending on the conditions - around about five years which is long enough for any tree to establish itself."The real beauty of it is that over those five years it will start to degrade almost from day one but still provide protection."We shouldn't have the same issues with things growing inside it and it degrades to absolutely nothing."The BFT has transformed the area it works in with its tree planting workHe said that if it proved to be a success it was likely to be extended."I don't see any reason why anyone wouldn't want to use it," he said."At the moment it is a little bit more costly than a plastic tube but you don't have the expense of removing it."You don't need all that time and effort going out removing the tubes, taking them off the hill, you can just leave them so that's a massive cost saving."We are not anti-tube, we need to use tubes, but this seems an ideal solution, an ideal alternative to us and we are really hopeful of its success."