New tree planting initiative takes root in South of Scotland landscape

Communities and wildlife in Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders are set to benefit from the planting of up to 10,000 new landscape trees over the next 12 months thanks to a new South of Scotland Tree Planting Grant.

Launching this week, the initiative is supported by Woodland Trust Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Scottish Forestry and private donations.

Under the scheme, community groups and landowners are being urged to apply for grant funding to plant individual trees or small woodlands to enhance the local landscape, increase wildlife habitat and biodiversity, capture carbon and help to reduce soil erosion.

Field margin trees, orchards, treelines, small copses of less than 0.25 hectares and individual parkland trees are all encouraged, with planting normally of native species.

The project will be administered by the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership, Tweed Forum and Borders Forest Trust and builds on the successful Borders Tree Planting Grant which ran from 2015-2021 and saw over 38,000 landscape trees planted in the Scottish Borders.

Derek Robeson, Senior Conservation Officer, Tweed Forum, said; “Being around trees and green spaces is known to benefit our mental wellbeing, however many of our wonderful landscape trees are being lost to disease and old age. This new South of Scotland Tree Planting Grant aims to replace them in order to enhance the local environment for future generations and provide multiple additional benefits.

“We hope community groups and landowners from across both Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders will get in touch to enable thousands of new trees to take root in the region.”

Woodland Trust Scotland’s Senior Outreach Manager, Doug Flint said; “A rolling farming landscape scattered with small woods and notable single trees used to be typical of this part of the world. Much of that tree cover was lost but restoration has been underway in recent years. This new scheme continues the good work bringing back this look to the landscape and we are delighted to be involved, not least by joining Scottish Forestry as main funders.”

Jonathan Barrett, Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership said; “The roll-out of the South of Scotland Tree Planting Grant scheme across Dumfries and Galloway will make a significant contribution to stemming the loss of woodland trees to age and disease whilst helping to promote woodland stewardship in local communities. Our thanks go to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Environment team whose support has been vital in getting this initiative up and running.”

Nicky Hume, Treescapes Project Officer, Borders Forest Trust, said; “Borders Forest Trust are excited to be part of this project that aims to make native tree planting accessible to all. Nature has helped so many of us through this past year and now the South of Scotland Tree Planting Grant allows us to give something back. Planting trees on your farm, in your school playground or in a community space will help create habitats for wildlife, store carbon and enhance our landscapes. It’s quick and easy to apply so get your spade and wellies ready and give us a call!”

South of Scotland Tree Planting Grants are available up to a maximum of £1000 per applicant to cover material costs. Further information is available by contacting Tweed Forum on 01896 849723, the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership on 07469 571806 or Borders Forest Trust on 07399 275973.