Planting the right tree in the right place should be the driving principle behind the nation’s tree planting ambitions, the NFU has said today as it launches its own Tree Strategy.
This principle ensures that the right tree species are selected, appropriately sourced to match the location, and maximises successful long-term objectives, while also recognising the importance of land for food production.
The NFU’s Tree Strategy also sets out other key aspects that must be considered when government is developing new tree planting policy:
- Recognition of the importance of bringing existing woodland back into active management.
- The need for the government to address existing barriers to tree planting, particularly existing tenancy clauses which prevent 30% of our agricultural land from engaging in tree planting.
- The need for increased recognition and incentives for trees outside of woodland, which contribute hugely to our natural environment and act as important carbon sinks.
Commenting from the Great Yorkshire Show, NFU environment forum chairman Richard Bramley said: “Farmers right across the country understand just how important trees, hedgerows and woodland are, and recognise that there is a clear target to increase tree planting.
“They offer obvious benefits to the environment, particularly how they can contribute to British farming reaching its 2040 net zero ambition, but they are also invaluable for our farmland; providing field boundaries or offering shade to cows and sheep during the summer months.
“The overriding message I hear from farmers is the importance of planting the right tree in the right place and that is why we have put that message front and centre of our Tree Strategy.
“Every farm will be different, so we have to take into account tree species, location, soil type, exposure to weather, to ensure we’re putting the best tree in the best place for long-term success and the desired outcome. It also recognises the importance of land for food production, which is so important for an island nation, especially given the challenges ahead in adapting to climate change.
“With farmers managing more than 70% of our countryside, we are well placed to step up and contribute towards the government’s ambitious tree planting goals. I would encourage them to work with us to achieve this in a sustainable way that preserves our ability to produce high-quality, climate-friendly food for the public.”