20/1/2020

Sustainable Ewes: Our letter sent to The Farmers Guardian

Sir, 

The National Trust are correct to be leading the way by increasing tree planting on their land. What a shame though that the approach they propose requires the removal of livestock undermining the viability of their tenants livelihoods. Planting trees in pastureland whilst continuing to graze the grass between the trees, so called Agro-forestry, achieves twin objectives.

Evidence is also emerging that the stock benefit from the shade in summer and shelter in winter, and in coppice systems where the wood can be harvested periodically for biofuel, the livestock can benefit from controlled grazing of the foliage, obtaining minerals brought up to the surface by the tree roots.

If we are to tackle climate change let’s try to do so in a way that preserves peoples livelihoods, produces income and food, provides habitats for wildlife and improves soil health whilst reducing runoff and storing carbon. Not to do so is a mighty missed opportunity.

Dr Alastair Leake, The Allerton Project

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