Sponsored: Chris’ Story - A wildlife corridor to support farm biodiversity

A Scottish farmer with a passion for nature creates a 100-acre wildlife corridor by transforming his land with native broadleaf trees. Preserving farm biodiversity was core to Chris’ project goals
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Chris Addison-Scott/WTML

Chris Addison-Scott received subsidised trees through the Woodland Trust’s MOREwoods scheme to support the transformation of a parcel of arable land on his Fife estate.

Looking to balance the needs of a complex farm business with his nature-based goals, Chris explained the minimal impact the scheme has had on productive land. Clever woodland design means his 1,000 new trees will have a significant impact for nature without taking up too much space; “Several years ago we had sown an area of canary grass and it so happened that this area connected a large piece of woodland on a couple of neighbouring estates. By planting more trees, it has created a perfect wildlife corridor, linking over 100 acres of diversified cover.”

Research shows biodiversity on UK farms has fallen to around 30% of 1970 levels. Intensive farming and the loss of hedgerows and wild spaces are all contributing factors. Farmland accounts for 71% of our countryside, so getting biodiversity right is essential to addressing the climate, nature and food security crises.

Wildlife corridors bridge the gap between habitats, helping to restore and preserve genetic biodiversity. They also attract beneficial pollinators, which are critical to sustaining agriculture and food production.

Chris’s family has been farming on the Kinloss Estate since his great-grandfather bought the farm in 1887. In those days it was mainly down to grass, but his father started to actively farm in the mid-1960s, which he has continued. The farm has now evolved into a mixed enterprise growing cereals, with some land leased for grazing and growing broccoli. He and his wife Margo also let holiday cottages and host the annual Fife Show, which attracts as many as 10,000 visitors on show day.

In addition to the subsidy, Chris was drawn to the simplicity and accessibility of the MOREwoods approach, compared with other woodland creation schemes.

“So far after one growing season the new trees are doing really well, with perhaps less than 5 per cent losses,” he said. “MOREwoods has worked really well for us, and I would definitely recommend it as a way to increase nature on your land.”

How can I benefit?

If you’re looking to build landscape resilience and create a brighter future for people, wildlife and the environment, with MOREwoods you receive the advice and support you need to plant with confidence. MOREwoods has already helped over 3,000 landowners with their planting projects – that’s 4 million new, native trees in the ground. Trees and hedges can work wonders for your farm too, without encroaching on productive land.

Where 500+ trees are planted on at least half a hectare, we will visit your site, help design your woodland, create a bespoke species mix, supply the trees and tree protection – and cover up to 75% of costs.

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