FARM TREE - integrating trees on agricultural land

"Tackling the climate and biodiversity crises with transformative farming and technological innovations"
Lambs grazing between young Sycamore trees in agroforestry

FARM TREE: balancing farm and landscape-scale demands for integrating trees on agricultural land

FARM TREE is funded by the UKRI Future of UK Treescapes Programme. The programme is designed to answer the ‘what, where, how and for whom’ of treescape expansion and will help us to better safeguard our trees, woods and forests. The FARM TREE project will run until July 2025.

In FARM TREE, an interdisciplinary team of social and environmental scientists is building on existing Agroforestry initiatives and developing practical tools for farmers to enhance the expansion of trees on agricultural land. Our team are exploring which agroforestry planting scenarios might work best under different combinations of environmental and socio-economic conditions. We evaluate planting strategies (landscape priority areas or species), as well as farm level planting designs (species and spatial organisation of planting). A short video about the project is available below.

Providing knowledge on which planting scenarios realistically work best where, combined with tools and pathways on how to achieve this will:

  1. improve farmer decision-making,
  2. aid the development of better targeted and more flexible policies and grant schemes, and
  3. ultimately lower barriers for tree expansion on farmland.

We focus on Scotland and take a holistic approach to benefits and inherent trade-offs and consider that tree planting decisions are subject to diverse factors, from the personal to the policy level. We will provide an interactive web-based decision support tool to guide tree expansion on farmland; and identify how public policies (regulations, grant schemes) and market-based measures interact to incentivise (or deter) planting.

Key Outputs

FARM TREE Info Tool - a tool to explore existing tree planting on farms in Scotland. This is a searchable map linked to a database of farms with tree integration with planting objectives, species, planting designs, benefits, challenges, and grant funding.

FARM TREE Landscape Suitability Tool - a strategic landscape level planning tool where users can explore different scenarios, determined by setting different constraints and preferred ecosystem services.

FARM TREE is jointly run by Aberdeen University and the James Hutton Institute, together with our Project Partners: National Farmers Union Scotland, Scottish Forestry, Scottish Government, Soil Association Scotland, Woodland Trust Scotland.

Contact

  • Josie Geris as the PI of the project and for the environmental modelling.
  • Katrin Prager for the socio-economic research.
  • Alison Hester for more information on agroforestry and wider activity at Glensaugh