wild and woolly

Scottish sheep have been savaged recently – both by Jay Rayner who has swallowed the rather one-sided New Zealand  industry-supported Lincoln University study on the lifecycle analysis of NZ versus Brisith lamb, and by George Monbiot who wants to see some trees back on the hills.

Help is at hand for both gentlemen in the form of the new Scotland Rural Development Programme, which for the first time will be supporting agroforestry.  This is a tremendous opportunity to create silvopastoral grazing systems on a landscape scale across our uplands.

Grazing sheep under native trees like aspen and willow doesn’t just help with flood control and soil erosion; it provides shelter and shade, cycles nutrients from the subsoil, creates huge increases in biodiversity above and below ground, and in many cases locks up more carbon than either plain grassland or forest. It also supports a second industry of sustainable forestry management.  The grass grows earlier under trees too.  The new CAP should mean that farmers won’t lose subsidy.  

So lets do it – and lets do it without round-up.  There must be some textile recycling companies out there just waiting to make 100 million mulch mats.