Foresters can help deliver low-carbon farming

Institute of Chartered Foresters - headshots © Julie Broadfoot - www.juliebee.co.uk

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The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICFor) has welcomed the announcement by Scottish Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon on a new farmer-led initiative to drive low-carbon, environmentally sustainable farming practices in Scotland.

Ms Gougeon said that under reforms to the Farming For a Better Climate (FFBC) programme, a new group will be established to trail and develop ideas on farms which could provide practical, innovative solutions to help climate change mitigation, including carbon sequestration.

Martin Glynn, ICFor, the institute’s representative on the Climate Change Working Group, said: ‘Trees and woodlands can help deliver a variety of low-carbon solutions for farmers, not just by producing timber.

‘By providing shelter, and thus better growing conditions for crops and stock, they reduce the need for fertiliser. Reducing run-off maintains and improves soil quality, and leaf litter increases carbon sequestration by soils. Farming and forestry can work together to produce a better climate.’

Shireen Chambers, executive director of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, said that members are already working with landowners to plant new forests using marginal land and working with farmers to see how smaller woodlands can benefit them and help with carbon capture.

‘Professional foresters are ahead of the game. We are already working with landowners and farmers to show how trees can work in a sustainable, ecological and economic way. People know about the detrimental impact of plastic on the environment and now they are becoming more aware of the role trees play in combating climate change and capturing carbon,’ she pointed out.

‘I welcome the report and hope that it will open up the debate even further on how trees can be the way forward in meeting climate change targets and how Scotland can take a lead on this,’ she added.