May 21, 2022
The creation of Woodland attracts grants.
The creation of Woodland attracts grants.

The emergence of markets for carbon and other forms of natural capital has increased the interest of private investors in the restoration of the ecosystem. Together with grants for the creation of Woodland and the restoration of Petland, it has been a major driver of change in land use throughout the UK. Due to high timber prices, competitive afforestation grants and strong forest investment performance, the growing interest of corporate investors in forests and arable mountainous areas has also been widely noted.

But with farmers warning that a lack of regulation on such sales could put Scotland at risk of becoming a “bargaining chip” for foreign investors seeking to offset their environmental impact or carbon credits. I want to speculate, there is fear in some quarters Highland clearance

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As a result of large private acquisitions, agriculture is rapidly becoming homeless, and a major round table program has been announced to bring together key stakeholders from across the UK to understand how rural areas are managed. To explore the opportunities and risks posed by changes in the scale of the landscape. Planting trees will also put agriculture, food autonomy and the functioning of rural communities on the table.

However, the Round Table will also consider the benefits of private investment that could help meet the net zero and other nature goals over the next ten years – as well as increase land prices for landowners.

Researchers from the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institute (SEFARI) and the University of the Highlands and Islands have invited people from all walks of life – including representatives from the UK and local governments, investors, landowners and community groups. To be. Proposed Special Advisory Group.

The project, which will see changes in land use within existing holdings as well as large-scale acquisitions, is funded by the Scottish Government – the first meeting of which will take place on 22 February. It will be chaired by Mark Reid.

An initial review of the evidence, which gathered and reviewed evidence from the UK and international studies, was prepared by SRUC Rural Society researcher, Dr. Rob McMorran, prior to the meeting.

“These market changes provide real opportunities for landowners to increase private investment in the environment and diversify their incomes in times of uncertainty over future agricultural support,” said McMahon.

“However, we found that large-scale private acquisition of land could also pose real risks to natural resources, including potentially focusing on the distribution of natural capital benefits and diversifying land ownership and communities. This includes conflicting with the emphasis on broader policy on increasing opportunities for decision-making. Around land use. “

McMorran said that this meant that how large-scale acquisitions and the development of natural capital markets would go hand in hand with public support mechanisms, needed to be carefully considered to ensure that relevant opportunities Distribute equitably between the land management sector and the rural communities.

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