Small native woodlands deliver many benefits for biodiversity, the landscape, and provide shelter for livestock and building but costs of planting and protecting these woods are often high - and Scottish Forestry said that the new grants recognised the additional costs incurred for such small plantings.
The agency, which took over from the Forestry Commission in Scotland in 2019, said that the enhanced rates would promote new small native woodlands that were up to three hectares in size –adding that all crofters throughout the crofting counties would be eligible to apply.
Announcing the new funding, Environment Minister, Màiri McAllan said:
“These enhanced grant rates for the crofting counties should help ensure crofters, who are faced with challenging conditions for growing trees, can reap the many benefits of planting native woodlands.
The new rates for native woodland planting in the crofting counties will see rates rise by £840 per hectare to £7,560 per hectare over a five year period.
Welcoming the increase in grant funding, chief executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation, Patrick Krause, said:
“Crofters have long been involved in the creation of woodlands, but it is getting more costly to do this at a time when appropriate tree planting is more important than ever.“We urge all crofters to consider the benefits of a small native woodland on the croft. Many small woodlands make a lot of woodland!” concluded Krause.