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Urge the Senedd to restore nature with trees on farms
We urgently need a stronger, more sustainable food system that works for farmers, our culture and nature. Trees must be at its heart.
Credit: Nigel Pugh / WTML
The new Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) in Wales has huge potential. By improving support for increasing tree cover and care, a well-delivered scheme would help tackle the nature and climate emergencies and help our farmers, communities, culture and environment to thrive. We’ve created Our Ten Asks for Trees on Farms that would boost the scheme’s positive impact for Wales’ people and landscape. Join us in asking the Senedd to make Our Ten Asks for Trees happen.
A new scheme and a new approach
Right now, the development of a new SFS is a great opportunity to support our farm businesses by:
- reducing long-term farm costs
- financially supporting farmers to manage land in different ways
- decreasing dependence on expensive external resources or imports like livestock feeds and fertilisers.
Some of these imports contribute to deforestation and environmental damage that impact others’ communities and culture. The new scheme should support farmers to source resources as locally as possible, helping us to become a more ‘Globally Responsible Wales’.
Trees have a vital role to play in achieving these goals. It's estimated that 2.9 million tonnes of soil are lost from fields in England and Wales every year, while the annual cost of soil degradation is an estimated £1.2bn. Trees help reduce soil loss by better protecting it from extreme heat and increasingly heavy rainfall and erosion. They also reduce flooding, retain water, provide vital shade and shelter for livestock, protect and increase soil fertility and carbon stores and much more.
We need to take action for nature
An effective new scheme will increase tree cover in the right places, in the right way, for all the right reasons. Properly funded and implemented, the new scheme can play a vital role in complementing food production, by increasing trees on farms through agroforestry systems and hedges and edges. These trees will also benefit farm businesses and our communities, better protecting us all from increasing climate change disruption.
Protecting existing trees and woods is equally important. Just over 99% of Wales’ woods exceed critical nitrogen pollution levels. This has damaging effects for woodland plants and wildlife. The new scheme must help landowners to improve quality and condition.
species in Wales threatened with extinction
Wales' hedgerows in 'unfavourable condition'
decrease in butterflies in Wales 1988-2019
Our Ten Asks for Trees
Our Ten Asks for Trees will help the whole of Wales to tackle the climate and nature emergencies. Better support for trees is essential to reversing nature’s collapse. Our vital food system depends on it. We want to see the SFS:
- urgently provide a well-funded scheme that helps reduce and reverse the impacts of the nature and climate emergencies.
- ensure all farms meet the same basic legal environmental protection standards.
- protect and improve the trees, hedges and woodland that already exist.
- help farms to achieve 10% tree and hedge cover.
- help farmers to create super hedges.
- meet the call from the Senedd to support more agroforestry.
- develop an independent farm wildlife benchmark.
- fund cross-farm working for landscape-wide improvement.
- increase tree pasture on open hills.
- provide options to deliver more nature positive climate actions with trees.
Trials will begin this summer before the scheme is eventually rolled out and you can help to influence them. Add your voice to the call for the SFS to recognise trees’ crucial role in creating a better future for Wales. Use our simple tool to contact your Members of the Senedd today.