The Sheep and Trees Initiative: a first step towards integrated agroforestry?

Georgina Weston, Lorna Philip

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The Sheep and Trees Initiative was introduced by the Scottish Government in 2017 as part of wider efforts to support farm diversification and the promotion of tree planting aligned with meeting sustainable development objectives. Designed to promote integrated forestry in upland farming across Scotland, the initiative has, to date, had a very low uptake. This study explores attitudes within the Scottish upland farming community towards integrated forestry in general and the Sheep and Trees Initiatives specifically in an attempt to understand why uptake has been low. We found that although upland farmers had positive attitudes towards certain types of integration, reinforcing the findings of previous studies, negative attitudes were also widespread which could act as a deterrent towards participation in the Sheep and Trees Initiative. The species of trees and styles of planting supported by the Sheep and Trees Initiative appear to be misaligned with the preferences of farmers wishing to adopt an integrated forestry system. The paper concludes with some recommendations for refining the Sheep and Trees Initiative which could enhance its attractiveness to large scale, commercial concerns and to other upland farmers interested in planting trees for amenity and environmental benefits.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Early online date18 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Nov 2020


  • integrated forestry
  • upland farming
  • Sheep and Trees Initiative

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