How farming and forestry could happily co-exist

“Biodiversity and agriculture should not be opposed – they can actually work together very well.”

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Planting trees is a good thing:

Woodlands for climate and nature – Vision Group for Sidmouth

There are questions, though:

Planting trees: where, what and why? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

It’s also about landscape management:

Trees, plants and carbon – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Agroforestry: growing not planting trees is the key – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And trees can co-exist with other forms of agriculture:

Forest gardening in the West Country – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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Including farming, as covered in The Conversation by Prof Philippe Wilson and Prof Stephen Hall:

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UK Agriculture Bill: how farming and forestry could co-exist happily

Trees for storing carbon, grazing for livestock, improved animal welfare and sustainable rural economies – how can we satisfy all these aspirations for the British countryside? As the UK prepares to leave the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (often called the CAP), we’re presented with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do just that.

How the UK manages its land will be critical to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier. A recent study found that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture – including methane from livestock and nitrogen dioxide from fertilisers – are enough on their own to push global warming beyond 1.5°C. Since 70% of England is occupied by farming, how we grow food and the way we manage the rest of the land is very important in the effort to slow climate change.

The new Agriculture Act and Environmental Land Management Scheme is the UK government’s interpretation of environmentally sustainable farming. Rather than offering subsidies based on how much farmland someone manages, the new legislation offers farmers and landowners public money for public goods. That means, in theory, there’ll be a financial incentive for farmers to reserve land for wildlife… But with so little published on how it might work, some worry that a rush to protect land for nature could undermine food growing in the UK and leave us more dependent on produce shipped from abroad.

These concerns are based on a false choice though. Biodiversity and agriculture should not be opposed – they can actually work together very well…

UK Agriculture Bill: how farming and forestry could co-exist happily

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photo: Practical Applications of Eastern Hardwood Silvopasturing

   
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