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Article provided by the Woodland Trust.
Woods and trees are a win-win for farming and the environment without hampering production.
We need to improve the resilience of our farms in the face of climate change. According to a Farmers Weekly survey, three-quarters of those questioned said extreme weather had cost them more than £50,000 over the past five years.
Flood damage alone costs the farming sector £1.9bn each year. This is expected to rise to £2.4bn by 2050. Climate change will bring more extreme weather events, but trees can be part of the solution.
10 benefits of trees on farm
- A shelterbelt helps reduce wind speeds and water evaporation from soil and plants, preventing water stress.
- Shelterbelts, planting along watercourses and buffer strips across wide catchment areas can improve water infiltration and reduce flooding.
- The right trees in the right place can protect precious soils and crops from strong winds and intense rainfall.
- Trees planted for livestock provide shelter and shade, helping to reduce summer heat stress and chill factor in winter. This helps maintain animal welfare and increase productivity.
- Trees and hedges provide havens for wildlife, including pollen and nectar sources for vital pollinators.
- Planting trees as fodder provides nutritional and health benefits.
- A mixed broadleaf coppice provides about three tonnes of air-dried wood fuel per hectare per year. Shelter around buildings can also reduce heating costs by as much as 40%.
- Trees in field corners or other difficult spaces makes use of hard-to-work areas while keeping quality land in production.
- Planting more woods and trees creates more space for wildlife and improves landscape resilience.
- Trees are vital in the fight against climate change. They absorb atmospheric carbon, locking it in and storing it for centuries.
Start planting with subsidised schemes
The Woodland Trust, with generous funding from Lloyds Bank, offers expert advice and funding to make your planting project a success.
The Trust’s MOREwoods scheme is ideal for anyone planting over half a hectare of woodland. It’s already created more than 3,000ha of woodland across the UK.
From a shelterbelt to harvesting your own wood fuel, the Trust will visit your site with you to provide tailored advice on the best species and methods to reach your goals.
It will guide your application from start to finish, and arrange tree delivery and any necessary tree protection. The Trust can provide generous funding and in some cases help with planting.
Alternatively, plant hedgerows longer than 100 metres with the MOREhedges scheme.
The Trust offers a mix of species ideal for hedges, plus your choice of full height trees every six metres, funding and tree protection.
No obligation advice and support is available for eligible schemes even if you decide not to plant. Saplings supplied are all sourced and grown in the UK and Ireland.
A greener future
As well as planting new woods and hedges, we must take care of those we already have.
We must value and manage our existing trees and hedgerows for their vast benefits for people, wildlife and the environment.
The Woodland Trust is calling for future land management policy to support farmers and land managers to manage as well as expand tree cover.
For planting advice, telephone 0330 333 5303 or visit Woodland Trust website