Scottish Forestry highlights the business benefits of tree planting

Landowners in Central Scotland are being encouraged by Scottish Forestry to consider how woodland creation can benefit their estates.

Image: Boon Low (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Image: Boon Low (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Under the Scottish Rural Development Programme's Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS), grants are available for up to £6,210 per hectare towards the costs of new woodland planting.

Central Scotland landowners may also be eligible for a special uplift of up to £2,500 per hectare depending upon location, with additional money also available for fencing and protection costs.

Scottish Forestry woodland creation officer Virginia Harden Scott, said: "Significant opportunities exist for landowners to maximise their business productivity and sustainability by adding value to underproductive or marginal land through tree planting."

She added: "With falling incomes in traditional agriculture and uncertainty over future subsidies, landowners are increasingly looking for ways to maximise productivity of their land and diversify incomes."

Delivered by Soil Association Scotland on behalf of Scottish Forestry, an event next month will set out the benefits of woodland for livestock productivity and as a renewable fuel source and timber crop, and the funding opportunities available for woodland creation.

Easter Bavelaw Farm's Graham and Becci Barr have recently planted 90,000 trees and are considering management options for existing woodlands.

Graham Barr said: "The aim was to secure both short and long term diversified income for the farm.

"There were also many other benefits, including restricting livestock access to difficult areas; providing shelter; creating and improving riparian wildlife habitats and, of course, capturing and storing carbon."

But the City of Edinburgh Council's natural heritage officer Victor Partridge has warned that reforesting areas such as the largely deforested Pentland Hills south of the Scottish capital, which the council part-manages, could harm biodiversity.

He told the BBC: "There is the suggestion that we can help the planet by planting more trees but we must be very careful where we plant them so we don't lose important habitats."

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