Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.
1. Scottish Forestry offers funding under the Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) for native planting schemes in Scotland. In order to qualify for funding under the FGS, is there an obligation on landowners (or their agents) to avoid planting native tree schemes in straight lines? Lots of schemes appear to do this and this appears to be contrary to the intention of such schemes as they are supposed to be natural in appearance.
There is no specific obligation for landowners to plant or not plant trees in straight lines. Native woodland creation schemes are expected to follow Forestry Commission Bulletin 112 ‘Creating New Native Woodlands’, which includes guidance on woodland design and planting patterns, and if this were not followed, Scottish Forestry could require changes or refuse to pay the grant. https://cdn.forestresearch.gov.uk/1994/03/fcbu112.pdf
2. If proposed planting sites already have vegetation such as scrub such as gorse or hawthorn (which also sequester carbon) and can offer some protection from self-sown native species trees as a process of succession, is there an obligation on landowners (or their agents) to retain this scrub when planting native tree species to qualify for funding under the FGS?
There is no specific obligation, but this would be considered as part of the application process and we would normally expect such existing vegetation to be retained.
3. In addition to planting native tree species in straight lines, many native species planting schemes are of uniform density, creating an artificial appearance by having a 'grid' of trees. Do such artificial schemes still qualify for funding under the FGS?
Please see the answer to question 1.
4. Some landowners, their agents or nursery growers refer to growing native species 'of local provenance'. Is there an obligation under the FGS to qualify for funding that native tree planted should only be sourced using seed from local provenance?
If so, how is 'local provenance' defined?
Please see our guidance on Seed Sources for Planting of Native Trees and Shrubs: https://forestry.gov.scot/forests-environment/biodiversity/native-woodlands/seed-sources
Are there registered seed sources for different geographic regions of Scotland?
Yes, please see the guidance above.
Do Scottish Forestry carry out checks on nursery suppliers and/or recipient landowners/agent planting sites that seed is of local provenance?
5. As native tree planting propagation is based on seed germination resulting in genetic diversity occuring that would not otherwise occur if trees were propagated from cuttings, would trees that were grown from cuttings for native planting schemes qualify for funding under the FGS?
Generally this isn’t how native tree seedlings are produced in Scotland, but it may be for some species where seed is limited or propagation difficult, e.g. aspen.
Do Scottish Forestry carry out checks on nursery suppliers and/or recipient landowners/agent planting sites to ensure that native trees and shrubs are not propagated from cuttings?
Yes. Scottish Forestry check seed certificates.
6. As not all newly planted native trees on a site may survive, what obligations are there for the landowner/agent for planted areas under FGS to replace stock to qualify for the full FGS payment? Does the FGS contract allow for a survival rate, such as 95% within a five year period, so that there is still a high proportion of intended tree coverage within the designated planted areas?
An FGS contract requires that the target stocking density be delivered at establishment. The contract also includes payments for the replacement of dead trees over the first 5 years of the scheme.
7. For native species trees/shrubs supplied to landowners/agents for planting schemes under the FGS, what are the minimum physical requirements of the trees/shrubs to qualify for funding under the FGS? For example, minimum height, size of rootball or established wood in the stem? It may be that these requirements vary by species.
We don’t specify minimum requirements. The contract holder has the duty to deliver the outcome agreed in the contract. The size of transplants is up to the contract holder’s discretion.
8. For native species trees/shrubs supplied to landowners/agents for planting schemes under the FGS, can these be either cell grown or bare-rooted trees/shrubs? It may be that these requirements vary by species.
Both are acceptable for all species.
9. For native species trees/shrubs supplied to landowners/agents for planting schemes under the FGS, is there a minimum age requirement in terms of age of each shrub/tree from the time of germination? It may be that these requirements vary by species.
There is no minimum age requirement.
10. Are there restrictions on the growing techniques used by suppliers for native species trees/shrubs to qualify for FGS funding? As native trees/shrubs (intended for planting in Scotland) are typically grown outdoors or in cool, well ventilated polytunnels in Scotland, does the FGS funding conditions permit using tree/shrub stock (assuming it is of local provenance and genetically diverse) that has been propagated using '24/7' artificial heat, light and fertilizers (in relatively closed glasshouses) to reduce time from germination to reaching a size for planting outdoors, assuming that the species in question can be grown under such artificial conditions?
There are no restrictions on how trees are grown. As per the answer to question 7, this is at the contract holder’s discretion and risk.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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