By Gordon Davidson

Soil Association Scotland has received funding for a new programme to highlight the benefits of agroforestry in Scotland.

'Agroforestry in Action' has received £30,000 from the Scottish Government’s Knowledge Transfer and Innovation fund to run a series of webinars and develop an online agroforestry hub of ‘how to’ resources. Scottish Forestry and the Woodland Trust are also contributing to the programme.

Programme lead Bruce Pearce said: "Agroforestry – by which we mean integrating trees into farming, according to the principle of the right tree in the right place – is a vital, viable way farmers can help us restore climate and nature, from the ground up. Trees can store carbon, improve soil health and biology, provide shelter and forage for livestock and wildlife, and give farmers additional income. Through our Agroforestry in Action programme, we will share Scotland-specific best practice and resources and work with Woodland Trust Scotland and Scottish Forestry to enable more tree planting on farms."

Three free webinars scheduled for February and March will cover agroforestry and crofting (Feb 11); how to integrate trees into different farming systems (Feb 25), and funding for agroforestry (March 11).

Crofter Phil Knott, who will be part of the first webinar, said that he and partner Laura chose the ten-acre Wildlife Croft on Skye five years ago because it had trees. They have since planted 3,500 more, including fruit.

“We wanted a protective space,” said Phil. “If you’re on the west coast, shelter – from the gales and salt winds – is key for everything. It gives us more options for growing.”

For in-depth news and views on Scottish agriculture, see this Friday’s issue of The Scottish Farmer or visit