100 trees planted on farms to show agroforestry benefits

It is hoped the project will encourage farmers and landowners to consider tree proposals on their land
It is hoped the project will encourage farmers and landowners to consider tree proposals on their land

Over one hundreds trees have been planted on farms owned by the Scotland's Rural College to demonstrate the benefits of agroforestry.

The site, on the floodplain of the River Fillan, will be used both for demonstration and research purposes, showing farmers how agroforestry can be introduced.

The half-hectare block of trees were planted at Kirkton and Auchtertyre farms in Perthshire after SRUC was awarded funding from Loch Lomond National Park.

The college aims to show the benefits of agroforestry – the integration of trees and agriculture on the same piece of land – to a hill farm system without loss of productivity.



Agroforestry can be used to mitigate climate change and floods and is beneficial for biodiversity and the landscape, as well as animal health and welfare.

The trees at Kirkton and Auchtertyre, which are a mix of native species including alder, rowan, birch and oak, will provide shelter for livestock, timber, improved drainage and soil conditions, carbon storage, and habitat for woodland species.



John Holland, an Upland Ecologist at SRUC’s Hill & Mountain Research Centre, said: “We have been able to establish a small half-hectare block which we can use for demonstration and research purposes.

“As the trees grow we will be able to show land managers the multiple benefits that agroforestry systems can bring.”

Each tree is individually protected by a net cage and has been given a handful of high phosphate fertiliser to help growth and a wool mulch to reduce competition from weeds.

The cages will enable sheep to graze the pasture between the trees without causing any damage.