Small woodlands on dairy and drystock farms: Have your say on trees
Forests account for 12% of land area in Ireland. The government target is that forests will make up 18% of the land area by 2046. Rachel Irwin, Teagasc Walsh Scholar is surveying farmers to analyse their perceptions of, attitudes towards, and willingness to plant, trees on farms. Have your say here
With current afforestation rates, it is unlikely that this target will be achieved. Increasing tree cover on Irish farms has been identified as a means to achieve this target while continuing to produce high quantities of food. Increasing tree cover on farms has also been identified as a climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy. Within agricultural landscapes, trees can act as important sources of shelter for livestock while increasing nutrient recycling and providing a supplementary fodder source. As such, they can provide both direct and indirect benefits to all farmers but especially dairy and drystock farmers.
A potential initiative of the Post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy is that every EU farm should have 1 hectare of forest as either small woodlands, linear hedgerows, windbreaks, or individual trees. However, many previous CAP measures and schemes aiming to increase tree cover on Irish farms have failed due to a slow and limited uptake, even when profitable financial incentives are in place. This highlights that farmer decision-making regarding the adoption of agri-environmental measures do not follow the assumed economic rationality.
Online Survey to analyse farmers' perceptions of, attitudes towards, and willingness to plant, trees on farms
To better understand the factors that influence farmer decision-making with respect to tree planting on farms, the main attitudes, influencers, barriers and intentions of the farmers must be identified. To facilitate this, a survey has been set up by Rachel Irwin as part of a M.Sc. research project with Teagasc and University College Dublin (UCD) to analyse farmers' perceptions of, attitudes towards, and willingness to plant, trees on farms. The results of this survey will be used to aid policy and help create guidelines for policy makers.
We would like to invite dairy and drystock farmers to anonymously participate in this survey by scanning the QR code with their smart-phone or by clicking: Take the Online Survey here
About the Researcher:
Growing up on a drystock farm in the west of Ireland nurtured Rachel’s interest in agroecology, sustainable food production and policy. Throughout academia, she has developed a keen research interest in agroforestry and the benefits it provides both to the individual farmer, and furthermore wider society. Rachel believes that it is a major tool in climate change mitigation and adaption. Rachel has previously worked as an Environmental and Ecological Consultant and has gained first-hand knowledge and understanding of current environmental policy and first-hand experience of Land and Wildlife Management in both Ireland and the U.K.
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