PROPOSALS ON how small parcels of land in Scotland can be 'aggregated' to access forestry incentives and income have been submitted to the Scottish Government.

Not-for-profit organisations which own modest pieces of land – as small one tenth of an acre – can join forces to apply for grants to plant trees, and generate an income stream via carbon sequestration opportunities. However, this is not happening right now because smaller landowners have been reluctant to share liability.

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Dean of the Edinburgh Napier Business School, Gail Boag, said: “The result is a mismatch between the land currently available for tree planting and the targeted land needed to meet Government targets. To maximise the potential for planting, particularly in urban areas, the landowners of smaller plots must be motivated to act." To remedy this, the business school has proposed an action plan to boost the number of applications for grants for aggregated plots, and foster a great sense of wellbeing and community spirit too.

This chimes with latest government strategies – The First Minister’s Environmental Council has this month reiterated the importance of forest planting to mitigate impacts of climate change through sequestration, enhancing biodiversity and providing space for recreation.

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Under current plans, woodland creation will increase to 18,000 hectares a year by 2025, up from 10,660 hectares in 2020. The most recent Scottish Government Programme for Government also commits to increase annual expansion of native woodlands which can bring particular biodiversity benefits in addition to sequestering carbon.