Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and SEPA are currently running a pilot project to provide practical support for farmers and landowners who want to manage or create areas of woodland or open ground habitats within the catchment of the River Isla on Tayside.
Part of the rationale is to look at ways of reducing diffuse pollution and mitigate flooding. The two organizations recognize that there are many reasons why farmers do not get involved with woodland management or tree planting, or with the management of buffer strips or other potential open ground habitats. Some of these are physical constraints, others relate to subsidy entitlement.
Aberfeldy- based advisor Victor Clements has been asked to investigate some of these issues involved, and to provide practical support in helping farmers and landowners develop suitable plans on their own property.
Support would include:
• Submitting SRDP applications for woodland management or planting
• Carrying out an environmental audit on your farm to identify existing habitats and to develop possible opportunities for future management or expansion
The audit is likely to be particularly useful, given the possibility that future grant payments may require a proportion of ground to be managed in conservation schemes. Many farmers will have already given consideration to what they might be able to do on their own ground in such circumstances. An audit would help work through the options in a structured way.
The Isla catchment has been chosen because it has a wide range of land uses and different sizes of farms, from the floodplain of the Isla right up in to the hills bordering Deeside, from the Lunan Lochs in the west, to Forfar in the east.
Individual option plans and responses will be kept confidential. Areas do not have to be associated with watercourses, but priority will be given to those that do.
For further information please contact:
Susan Arnott (SEPA) Tay Catchment Co-ordinator Tel: 0131 273 7292
Mike Strachan (Forestry Commission) Tel: 01738 442 830