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Thursday, February 29, 2024

New Measures to Boost Agroforestry

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Apple trees in an agroforestry project.

Scottish Forestry is to introduce four new measures to its Forestry Grants Scheme aimed at boosting agroforestry planting in Scotland. 

The action is a direct result of joint working with agricultural stakeholders on the Trees on Farm group.

Key new measures include a 50% increase in the agroforestry grant rate and funding for biodiversity and fruit and nut trees.  

The increased flexibility to the agroforestry grants aims to support farmers wishing to integrate trees on their farms, whilst strengthening their business through diversification.

Announcing the agroforestry boost at the Why Grow Trees? event at the Royal Highland Show today, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“The farming community has a large part to play in reaching our national woodland creation targets and to becoming world leaders in sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

“Encouraging and supporting farmers to integrate trees on their farms is also vital in achieving our overall targets for net zero.

“Not only are there benefits to climate change and biodiversity, planting trees can provide farmers with added income, shelter for livestock and some diversification to the business.

“I’d like to see more farmers reap the benefits of tree planting and these new measures will do just that and boost agroforestry in Scotland.”

The four new measures to attract more agroforestry planting are:

  • Increasing the grant rate for agroforestry projects by 50% from £3,600 per hectare to £5,400 per hectare;
  • Making agroforestry funding available for planting fruit and nut and native trees;
  • Allowing additional protection measures for trees, to allow cattle to graze within agroforestry projects; and
  • Giving farmers more opportunity to participate in agroforestry by adapting the planting thresholds.

The new measures will be introduced this summer, giving prospective applicants time to work up new projects. 

It is part of the package of new measures announced recently which will help get woodland creation levels back on track in Scotland, whilst also aiming to help farmers maximise the benefits of integrating trees into the farming landscape.

Ms Gougeon made today’s announcement during her keynote speech at the  Why grow trees? event organised jointly by Scottish Land and Estates and the Integrating Trees Network, a joint farmer-led project supported by Scottish Forestry and the Scottish Government.

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