On Restoring Native Trees and Ecosystems

It might be hard to believe or imagine, but much of the UK’s uplands were once covered in temperate rain forest and rich peat bogs.  Now, they are largely covered in sheep and a checkerboard of burned areas to facilitate the lucrative sport of grouse hunting.  The National Food Strategy has identified the carbon opportunity in restoring these uplands to their natural state, which coincides with the Scottish Government’s intention to design future support schemes that encourage a reduction in grazing pressure in the uplands. 

The new Scottish Agricultural Bill, to be introduced in 2023, will include a review of Scottish Forestry’s Forestry Grant Scheme with the expectation that grants will be strengthened to continue to support woodland recreation in Scotland.  Mairi McAllan, Scotland’s Environment Minister, recently acknowledge the importance of forestry in reaching net zero, tackling nature loss, and supporting rural economies.  

In addition to tree planting, the Scottish Government’s List of Measures, drawn up ahead of the new Agricultural Bill includes multiple ‘nature and climate’ packages to support farmers and crofters to create habitats both in-field and across hill and non-cultivated areas of farms and crofts. 

The Woodland Trust is a nationwide charity that offers a range of grants for tree and hedge planting including a woodland carbon scheme.  Clare Haworth on the Isle of Lismore accessed the Trust’s support, and also the Crofting Agricultural Grants Scheme that fund hedges and shelterbelts, to plant 8,500 trees on her croft. 

In England, Woodland Creation through the Forestry Commission provides investment opportunities around forestry and woodland creation and offers strong support and a good range of available grants. The Sustainable Farming Incentive Handbook 2023 also has a list of measures with payments for assessing moorland, maintaining and establishing hedgerow trees, and for planting flower-rich areas. 

Last but not least, one of the members of our advisory team, Dr Vincent Walsh, is an expert in restoring native ecosystems by assisting nature to recreate the 7-layers of native forest, with each layer producing food.  You can access his support by contacting us.  In the meantime, browse our case-studies and see how some of our farmers and crofters have accessed various schemes to support the restoration of native trees and ecosystems on their land. 

Restoring Native Trees and Ecosystems

Case Studies

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