Free tree planting help for Scotland’s central belt farmers

Farmers and land managers in the central belt, who are thinking of planting trees but don’t know where to begin, are now being offered free woodland assessments from Scottish Forestry.

The offer applies to farmers in the central belt from Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Dunbartonshire right across from the west to Fife and the Lothians in the east.

As part of a national drive to promote the benefits of tree planting to farmers, a limited number of free Farm Woodland Assessments are being provided.

Since 2016, 78 assessments have taken place in the central belt, resulting in over 600 hectares of new woodland being planted. Last year alone, nine assessments were completed, covering over 1,000 hectares of land. From these assessments, 319 hectares of potential new woodland creation was identified.

The assessment gives farmers and landowners a free report detailing potential areas for planting and any constraints, available forestry grants, and valuable information on projected income and expenditure. Focussed on the objectives of the landowner, the assessment seeks to find ways to integrate trees in to the farm to strengthen and diversify their business.

Will Chadwick, Woodland Creation Officer with Scottish Forestry said, “Trees can bring many and varied benefits to a farm business. They can help protect livestock and soils, make use of less productive land, generate future income, increase biodiversity and help tackle climate change among other things.

“At Scottish Forestry, we want to support landowners to identify these opportunities and equip them with the necessary details to make an informed decision on whether to go ahead with tree planting. The Farm Woodland Assessment is a great way to do this, with tree planting potential mapped out for them, all for free and with no obligation.”

Applicants for a free Farm Woodland Assessment must be within the Central Scotland Green Network area, with an added focus around the Clyde Climate Forest and Forth Climate Forest catchments.

There are a limited number of assessments available so farmers and landowners are advised to register interest quickly, with deadlines for applications to be in by 20th December 2024.

Farm Woodland Assessment applications will be assessed on a monthly basis with the first assessments being carried out from July 2024.

Find out more on the Scottish Forestry website here

Image credit: Jayne Adamson

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