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Agriculture in Moray: Payments make tree planting another option

By Alistair Whitfield

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Small areas of woodland on farms and crofts will soon be able to attract funding under planned changes to legislation.

From November small woodlands approved under the Scottish Rural Development Programme since 2015 can be utilised as Ecological Focus Areas.

The move is aimed to encourage farmers, crofters and land managers to increase tree planting.

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."

Areas planted since the start of 2015 will be eligible to be claimed from next year.

Scotland’s forests and woodlands cover around 1.45 million hectares – 19% of the country’s land area.

They are home to 172 protected species.

The necessary legislative amendment is subject to parliamentary approval.

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