SCOTLAND’S FARMERS have been praised for their increasing adoption of farm forestry, which is helping the national effort against the global climate emergency.

More and more farmers recognise the benefits that farm forestry can bring. As well as offering shelter that helps improve productivity and maintain flock size, farm woodland can improve net income for farmers, and create a capital asset for their businesses.

Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said: “Farming and forestry can and should be complementary and it is gratifying to note that over 80% of approved applications for forestry grants last year came from farmers and crofters with small and medium size forestry projects.

“With clear protections in place for good quality farmland and clear guidance to prevent woodland creation on lower productivity land from impacting on local patterns of agriculture, more farmers are realising that forestry, no matter how small scale, can have a place within their larger business interests," said Mr Ewing.

“These are vital sectors for Scotland’s long-term future and both have the full support of the Scottish Government. Every day I see the contribution that they make – from producing food, to keeping people on the land and, most importantly, to tackling the climate emergency. Knowing that they can do this individually, one can only look forward to what greater integration will achieve.”

Scotland’s forests absorb the equivalent of over nine million tonnes of co2 from the atmosphere every year, and since 2016 over 400 farmers have been awarded £70million in grants to help them to integrate woodlands into their farms.

With 75% of farmland in Scotland classified as Less Favoured Area, Scottish Forestry – the renamed Forestry Commission Scotland – believes that there are significant opportunities for landowners to maximise business productivity by adding value to underproductive land via woodland creation.

A spokesman for Scottish Forestry said: "New woodlands have the potential to create an additional sustainable long term income stream, an important source of low carbon, low cost woodfuel, at the same time as realising tax, livestock and crop productivity and environmental benefits (including helping to manage a business’s carbon footprint).

"The Scottish Government supports and encourages integrated land use, ensuring different types of land are put to optimal use so rural communities, and Scotland as a whole, derive the most benefit."

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