Argyllshire Advertiser

Urgent need to change forestry policy


If Scottish agricultur­e is to be part of the solution to climate change, there must be a redefined approach to woodland expansion and forestry on agricultur­al land, writes NFU Scotland Vice President Andrew Connon in the union’s website blog.

Mr Connon describes the current fixation with planting trees as naïve at best, certainly short sighted, and having the potential to be damaging in other economic, environmen­tal and social aspects.

He is calling for a balanced approach before it is too late and states that the next Scottish Government must be challenged and be prepared to have a rethink at the earliest opportunit­y before catastroph­ic damage is done to Scotland’s agricultur­al industry. He writes: ‘I am receiving fresh calls every week from despairing farmers and crofters across Scotland telling me of another farm or estate destined for tree planting.

‘The more of Scotland’s limited productive land that shifts from farming to forestry, the more we are likely to simply offshore our emissions or even increase our carbon footprint.

‘In addition, land acquisitio­ns for forestry, combined with the potential for carbon trading are already creating inflated land prices that are outwith the reach of commercial farming activities whilst restrictin­g opportunit­ies for new entrants to the industry.’

NFU Scotland has long recognised that tree planting, in the right place, has a key role to play in tackling the climate and biodiversi­ty crises. It is in favour of farm woodlands that integrate with existing farm enterprise­s offering many benefits from mixed broadleaf/hardwood and conifer plantings without compromisi­ng food production and farm business viability regardless of land ownership or tenure.

‘However, NFU Scotland remains opposed to whole farm afforestat­ion on a commercial scale that reduces agricultur­al activity and food production whilst potentiall­y accelerati­ng land abandonmen­t,’ concludes Mr Connon.

Read the full blog at www. scotland-needs-a-definedapp­roach-to-forestry

 ??  ?? Andrew Connon calls for a ‘balanced approach to tree planting.
Andrew Connon calls for a ‘balanced approach to tree planting.

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