Scottish farmers' intentions to afforest land in the context of farm diversification

J Hopkins, L-A Sutherland, M-H Ehlers, K Matthews, AP Barnes, L Toma

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Abstract

Increasing woodland area in the United Kingdom is strongly supported in policies, but there is evidence of low rates of new planting, infrequent uptake of farm forestry, and negative attitudes to woodland among farmers. Additionally, there is a wider context of increasing farm diversification, and a need for greater understanding of farmers' attitudes and behaviour related to afforestation. This paper uses a representative survey of Scottish farmers (survey year: 2013, respondents used in analysis: 1735) to compare farmers who intended to expand forestry in future and farmers with alternative combinations of intended and past behaviour in relation to forestry. Overall, we find that certain characteristics: already operating forestry, reporting types of non-farming activities, involvement in environmental schemes, having a high education level, having a relatively high number of employees, and being relatively recent entrants to holdings, were more frequently found among farmers intending to increase forestry in future than farmers described as ‘non-increasers’ who did not intend to increase forestry and also had not expanded it in the past. Farmers with these characteristics could be a useful focus in attempts to expand woodland at larger scales, and encouraging small-scale tree planting could be an effective policy approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122 - 132
Number of pages11
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Volume78
Early online date28 Jan 2017
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 28 Jan 2017

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