Future Woodlands Scotland has unveiled the next phase of its £2million ‘Future Woodlands Fund’ pilot scheme to encourage farmers and other land managers in Scotland to plant native woodland.

New to the scheme are three options – upfront area payments for small woods, carbon ownership and ghost woodlands. At the same time, the scheme’s original annual payments option has been increased to £3500 per hectare over 20 years. Any land manager in Scotland can apply to the fund provided their proposed project is between three and 100 hectares and meets the essential criteria.

Future Woodlands Scotland is a Scottish charity working to create and conserve native woodlands. Through the scheme it aims to establish one million trees by November 2023, with the potential to lock up 235,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2080.

Chair Tim Hall said: “Interest in native woodland regeneration is increasing but many farmers and land managers still worry about the upfront costs of planting woodlands. Providing them with a range of options will mean they can choose what’s best for their business. This will be good for both farming and wildlife, while helping Scotland meet its biodiversity and climate commitments. I urge anyone thinking about creating native woodland to apply today.”

Developed following feedback from land managers, farmers and industry professionals, the new range of options addresses demand for differing levels of support – and the retention of carbon units arising from the woodlands.

The scheme's new, carbon unit ownership option gives land managers the option to keep any carbon units arising from their woodland as an investment or to offset their own land-based emissions.

Read more: New £2 million fund launched to boost Scottish native woodlands

The other new option is to restore ‘ghost’ native woodlands with high ecological value. These are defined as relics of old or ancient woodlands where less than 20% of the canopy cover remains.

Through these options, creating a new native woodland should come at a much-reduced cost to the land manager. Working alongside the established Scottish Government’s Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS), the fund will cover the cost of site assessments, Woodland Carbon Code validation and free access to a Professional Forestry Agent to draw up the Forestry Grant Scheme application.

It is worth noting that the Future Woodlands Fund isn made possible by £2million of support from petrochemicals giant, bp.

Mr Hall said: “By working with businesses and organisations, Future Woodlands Scotland aims to enhance Scotland’s biodiversity through projects that would not otherwise be possible. We are grateful to bp for their support in investing in our efforts to create lasting change.”

Senior Manager for HSE and Carbon at bp North Sea, Giles Mackey, said: “bp is proud of our long-standing relationship with the charity and more than two decades supporting the regeneration of native woodlands in Scotland. The purpose of this partnership is to help Future Woodlands Scotland to develop new and innovative schemes to enhance and protect Scotland’s native woodlands. bp is working hard to become a net zero company by 2050 and to help the communities we work in achieve their sustainability goals. All carbon credits generated by this scheme will therefore belong to the landowner or to Future Woodlands Scotland to re-invest in future projects and help Scotland reach its net zero targets.”

More information and application forms can be found on the Future Woodlands Scotland website: www.futurewoodlands.org.uk