Small areas of woodland created on farms and crofts will soon be eligible for funding to support sustainable agriculture in Scotland under new legislation.
From November, small woodlands approved under the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) since 2015 can qualify as Ecological Focus Areas to support farmers’ greening payments.
The move aims to encourage farmers, crofters and land managers to increase tree planting, providing environmental benefits including tackling climate change and nature loss.
Claims can be made from the 2023 claim year and areas planted since 1st January 2015 are eligible to be claimed from 2023.
Scotland’s forests and woodlands cover around 1.45 million hectares, which is 19% of the country’s land area and are home to 172 protected species, generating £1 billion to the economy every year and supporting 25,000 jobs.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Forestry in Scotland is a real success story and this legislative change will mean that tree planting in small areas becomes an attractive option for farmers and crofters.
“This move continues the strong progress towards achieving our tree planting targets by working closely with farmers, forest industries and landowners of all sizes.
“I would encourage stakeholders to explore the multiple benefits of integrating trees into their farm business.”