30 Mar 2023
Host farmers and crofters sought for tree planting network
The successful Integrating Trees Network (ITN) initiative is looking to expand and attract more host farmers and crofters across Scotland.
The initiative aims to raise awareness of the multiple benefits that trees can bring to farming and crofting businesses.
The network’s on farm visits and online events are very much led by the host farmers and crofters, backed with support from the Scottish Government and Scottish Forestry.
To date, the network has held twenty-four events which have brought together farmers and crofters from across Scotland to share their experiences and learn from each other.
The generous host farmers have played a pivotal role in making the initiative a success and the plan is to boost the number of farming and crofting hosts taking part
Lyn White, Scottish Forestry’s forestry and farming development officer said:
“The Integrating Trees Network is a fabulous way for farmers and crofters to see and hear directly from their counterparts about tree planting.
“The events are informal and the beauty is that all those taking part can get practical advice and support, and make contacts, to help them integrate trees into their businesses.
“The current network of hosts have been brilliant and offered so much expertise to others who are considering growing trees for the first time.”
Each host has shared their practical knowledge, ranging from why they wanted to grow trees, their practical experiences of planting and managing trees, and what they have learnt along the way, to the benefits trees bring to their business.
Discussions at the events have included integrating trees at every scale: shelterbelts; croft woodlands; small scale woodland creation and commercial scale projects.
The most popular events focused on integrating trees to improve biodiversity on farms, the Woodland Carbon Code and how best to design shelterbelts.
Scottish Forestry experts are also always on hand to back up the hosts with advice on forestry grants and experts are brought in to discuss technical topics.
Richard Lockett, who runs Knockbain Farm in Dingwall, is one of the host farmers and is also a conservation advisor. He says other farmers would be most welcome to join the network. He added:
“I’ve very much enjoyed being part of ITN. Hosting events and being part of online discussions has been a great chance to share what we’re doing as well as an opportunity to hear different perspectives and ideas from lots of different people.”