Forum Posts

mattwhitney
Aug 02, 2021
In Meetings
Mar 2021
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mattwhitney
Apr 26, 2021
In Trees
Below is an action plan for delivering the Gloucestershire Tree Strategy. It is generic - in as much as it tries to incorporate the roles of all the different partners. (Clearly much of the delivery of the strategy can be aided or hindered by central government policy.) It is designed so that all partner organisations can use it as a framework or guidance document for designing their own delivery plans for trees. Please get in touch if you need support with this process.
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mattwhitney
Mar 04, 2021
In Meetings
In early March 2021 we held a full partnership meeting to discuss the draft LNP strategy 2021-24. Presentations were given by various Board members on the 4 strategic themes (Nature Recovery, Climate Resilience, Green Growth and Naturally Healthy) and there was lively discussion around a number of specific elements: - the threats surrounding the agricultural transition, including the need for an economic impact assessment of the removal of BPS, and the establishment of an agricultural transition fund to support farmers to move to regenerative practices - the value of a farmer-led NFM demonstrator project - the trade-off between environmental/ecosystem services, biodiversity, and landscape character - the importance of environmental education and community empowerment - the need to ensure green infrastructure is not only promised but delivered There was considerable support for the themes we are proposing in the new strategy, and acknowledgement that we need to do more to weave communities and local ownership of objectives into the LNP's work. A further meeting will be held to better understand the role of the LNP as regards environmental education, engagement and community empowerment. Deadline for submission of further feedback to the strategy is Wednesday 10th March, and the final version is due to be adopted by April 1st, and will be uploaded here once it is finalised.
GLNP strategy meeting content media
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mattwhitney
Feb 25, 2021
In Meetings
In February 2021 the LNP, in partnership with Gloucestershire NFU, hosted an event to provide farmers with information about the direction of travel for farming and farm support in the UK post Brexit. The Agriculture Bill represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to evolve public support for farmers to continue to deliver environmental benefits through their land management practices, in line with the aims of the 25 Year Environment Plan. ELM, the Environmental Land Management scheme, is a key policy for delivering this. Level 1 of ELM, called the Sustainable Farming Incentive, will be launched later this year and will be the first chance many have of engaging with the new scheme. Catherine Boyd from DEFRA presented at our webinar to lay out what this looks like. One key takeaway message was that the best thing farmers can do right now is to get into Stewardship agreements - doing so will in no way disadvantage them from becoming involved in any aspect of the new scheme. Many farmers have already had the chance to interact with the co-design of ELM, through one of the Tests and Trials in Gloucestershire. The project leads of these Tests and Trials (Tim Bevan from GWT, Jenny Phelps from FWAG and Mark Connelly from the AONB) also presented at the webinar, to share what they have learnt. Some are ongoing, and both Jenny and Tim requested farmers who have had no previous experience of ELM to get in touch. James Cox, county Chair of the NFU in Gloucestershire led a lively Q&A session. A recording of the webinar is available here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HSlE9Mi_zQ&feature=youtu.be
2021 Future of Farming LNP webinar content media
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mattwhitney
Feb 10, 2021
In Trees
Excellent article from a number of international authors, including some from Kew Gardens, giving rules for reforestation where carbon sequestration is the main aim .
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mattwhitney
Feb 02, 2021
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mattwhitney
Dec 15, 2020
In Trees
The Gloucestershire Tree Strategy follow the mantra of the right tree in the right place for the right reason. However, 'right' in each of these circumstances is subjective. For instance, organisations differ in their opinions around the climate resilience of native UK trees - some believe that phenotypic elasticity will allow UK sourced and grown native varieties to adapt to warmer climates, while others consider the planting of more southerly specifies, such as Italian Oak, to be the better course of action to ensure woodlands are still thriving in a 2 or 3 degree future. Evidence suggests that if timber yield is the objective, more Southerly species might be prefered, whereas tree seed sourced from local UK provenances will be best adapted for UK sites in the long term (https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/research/genetic-considerations-provenance-choice-native-trees-under-climate-change-england/<https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/research/genetic-considerations-provenance-choice-native-trees-under-climate-change-england/). In addition, for productive woodland, and indeed for carbon sequestration, landowners may consider spruce and larch to be appropriate. In such instances, it is important to design and manage the woodland in a way that also supports nature e.g. diversity of species, native wildlife buffers & encouragement of scrub edge habitat, continuous cover regimes etc. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uk-forestry-standard<https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uk-forestry-standard) The Gloucestershire LNP believes a mix of species is the right way to go, with a strong focus on UK sourced and grown native trees wherever possible. Gloucestershire County Council have created a list of suggested species to focus on, which is attached here. The Woodland Trust have produced a useful list of UK Sourced and Grown accredited nurseries in the UK - those closest to Gloucestershire are highlighted in yellow on the attached document. Natural regeneration - allowing trees to naturally establish by encouraging natural succession (and embracing scrub) - is an important way to increase tree cover, where it is appropriate and possible. Where there is sufficient seed in the soil and suitable site conditions, the benefits of natural regeneration (or colonisation) include greater ecological complexity and diversity, increased resilience to climate change and disease, and avoiding the risk (with planting) of introducing new pests and disease. Natural regeneration also requires less management and can be more cost effective than planting. For more, see Rewilding Britain's report: (https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/reforesting-britain<https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/reforesting-britain) If your chosen site has poor seed stock, direct seeding can be good option to introduce seeds while encouraging natural establishment. In reality, many schemes seeking naturalistic outcomes for biodiversity may include a mix of natural regeneration and planting.
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mattwhitney
Dec 15, 2020
In Trees
The Gloucestershire Tree Strategy was developed by the Nature Recovery working group of the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership. Its purpose is to provide an agreed set of priorities and principles to guide woodland creation and tree growing in the county. It does not take a spatial prioritisation approach - this will be led largely by the GLNP's Natural Capital and Nature Recovery Network mapping - but does outline an ambitious vision for huge aforestation in Gloucestershire. It goes on to note the need for external investment and a systems change approach to looking at land-use in the county which will be enabled by changes to farming subsidies post-Brexit. Following publication of this Strategy, GLNP has created a suggested Action Plan to help organisations understand how they can best contribute to delivery of the strategy.
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mattwhitney
Dec 15, 2020
In Trees
There are not many levels of governance at which tree planting is not enthusiastically embraced. Corporations, Whitehall, the statutory agencies and local planning authorities all have targets and pledges surrounding woodland creation. On the really local level, many communities are also interested to play their part, and their enthusiasm can be leveraged and supported by those higher up the scale. Whether you are from a local community considering tree planting, or whether you work with communities, the attached document should provide a useful set of guiding principles through which to act. Three key things stand out - firstly, that the Woodland Trust have a fund to which you can apply for free trees, and associated guidance. Secondly, that the location needs to be suitable for trees - check it against the nature recovery network maps and any other locally available data to make sure the land you have in mind is not a priority habitat, or protected. And thirdly, that ongoing maintenance and management of the trees is vital to ensure they survive to maturity, Gloucestershire County Council should be able to provide support to this end, through their Community Tree Planting fund. Details of this will be uploaded to this page once we have them.
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mattwhitney
Dec 15, 2020
In Trees
There are a wide variety of funding streams available to landowners wanting to create new woodland, gap-up hedgerows or plant shelter belts. Some funding is for carbon purposes, some for biodiversity and some for water management. Each fund will have different reporting and species requirements, and different levels of funding attached. Some provide whips, some will give you tree guards and weed mats, plus sheep netting. Local funders such as Gloucestershire County Council may provide funding for ongoing management and maintenance costs in the first few years. The attached sheet developed by Elinor Sherlock, FWAG SW, details a wide variety of grants available to farmers and landowners. Further, Friends of the Earth provide a list of the same, but with additional information about each one. https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/insight/public-funding-uk-trees-woodlands-and-forests Woodland Trust have a variety of schemes for different purposes. Where 500+ trees are planted as woodland on at least half a hectare (up to 4 hectares), the Woodland Trust will help you design your woodland, create a bespoke species mix, supply the agreed trees and tree protection, and cover up to 75% of costs (or 60% of costs over one hectare if you want a contractor to plant the trees). https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/large-scale-planting/morewoods-faqs/. The Woodland Trust’s MoreHEDGES scheme covers up to 75% of the cost if you plant more than 100 metres of new hedging. https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/large-scale-planting/morehedges-faqs/ If you are from an organisation that liaises and engages with landowners, and need further advice in this area, please do not hesitate to contact the LNP. If you are a landowner who wants to plant trees, please speak with one of the many landowner advice organisations in the county, such as Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, FWAG SW, Stroud Valleys Project, NFU, CLA or National Trust. Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership would like to track trees that are planted in the 20-21 season. Please let us know of planting you have been involved in so we can keep track - matt@gloucestershirenature.org.uk . A form will be created for this purpose in due course. So far this season we know FWAG SW have secured funding from the EA's Woodlands for Water, part of central government's £640million Nature for Climate fund, to plant 50,000+ trees in shelter belts, hedgerows and woodland extension projects. Also, NFU have partnered with the Woodland Trust in a repeat of last year's free trees for farmers project, which saw 6,000 trees planted to tackle Ash Dieback and climate change. Finally, Glos LNP have a link with another funder who can provide free trees, stakes, guards and weed mats for projects wishing to deliver biodiversity enhancement. For more details, speak to Matt.
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mattwhitney
Nov 02, 2020
In Meetings
On Tuesday 27th October the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership held a launch event to promote the publication of the Gloucestershire Tree Strategy. The event was well attended, with over 50 people tuning in to learn about the strategy and hear from partners about ways to deliver the vision of 20% tree cover for Gloucestershire. Following a welcome and introduction from Doug Hulyer, Chair of the GLNP, was Cllr Nigel Moore of Gloucestershire County Council, who outlined how the County Council will support delivery of the strategy in part through their climate change work. The LNP Manager introduced some of the detail within the Strategy, a copy of which can be found here. The session also including an informative and passionate presentation from Ross Kennerley of the Woodland Trust and information about spatial mapping approaches that can guide the mantra of 'the right tree in the right place for the right reason'. Attendees heard from the NFU about landowner barriers and opportunities to delivering the strategy, and from the Farmers Wildlife Advisory Group and Stroud Valleys Project on the excellent work they have and continue to deliver around tree planting and woodland creation. One of the biggest questions from the event was clearly deliverability - the Vision is extremely ambitious, and its only by partners pulling together that we can hope to see its scale achieved. For a discussion about how your organisation can help, please don't hesitate to contact matt@gloucestershirenature.org.uk who will be able to put you in touch with the right people or organisations or resources to help you.
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mattwhitney
May 26, 2020
In Meetings
January
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mattwhitney
Apr 23, 2020
In Nature Recovery
The LNP partners have been promoting and improving the natural environment of Gloucestershire for much longer than the Local Nature Partnership has been around, and a key strength of the partnership is that stakeholders in the county have a long a successful history of working together towards mutual aims. The LNP therefore sought to better understand the combined capacity of the partners, in terms of both human and land resource. A short survey of some LNP members produced some interesting results, which really constitutes one of the key strengths of the partnership, and why we are able to achieve what we are. Partners own or directly manage at least 2,650 hectares of land. This is just less than 1% of the total area of the county. Interestingly, all partners surveyed said they would consider using their land for either carbon sequestration or biodiversity offsetting. The survey also shows that between organisations like FWAG, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, the National Trust and the National Farming Union, the Partnership supports farmers and landowners who manage over 100,000 hectares! This is over one third of the whole county. When asked about human resource, respondents reported over 130 land managers and land management experts. 130 experts in working with the natural environment. This is such a huge strength for a partnership to be able to draw on. These findings clearly show what we have known for some time: the a key strength of the partnership is the amount of expertise it represents. The survey results also highlight a huge opportunity for delivering environmental benefits in Gloucestershire, through the significant land that partners have influence over. Where the partnership adds value is by bringing these stakeholders together, promoting a joined up approach to policy, practice and opportunities. We all know natural processes do not acknowledge man-made boundaries, but operate at the landscape scale. Therefore it is by working together that we can deliver the improvement to our natural environment that the wildlife, society and economy of Gloucestershire so badly needs.
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mattwhitney
Feb 20, 2020
In Trees
Wherever you turn at the moment there is energy for tree planting. Tree mania, we have heard it described as. It is all to often motivated by a well-intentioned but naive attempt to 'offset' carbon emissions. Planting trees is really important, necessary even, but it is not an alternative to reducing/eliminating carbon emissions. It is additional to that. Indeed we need to plant many million trees in Gloucestershire just to offset the reduction in tree numbers that will come about as a result of Ash Dieback! Tree whips take years to get ready for planting, then the trees then take many more years to sequester any serious amount of carbon. Many more trees need to be planted than will exist at maturity, and ongoing management of the tree is all too often underestimated or not considered. A more natural approach to woodland creation, allowing natural regeneration to occur, is often overlooked. Similarly, there are other land-use changes which can reduce net carbon emissions for lower cost whilst delivering more co-benefits, such as wetland creation and grassland reversion. The GLNP is working hard to ensure that best practice is followed when undertaking tree projects. As part of this aim, we wanted to share a document, produced by Joe Middleton from the Woodland Trust, which demonstrates the different plastic-alternative tree guards on the market at present, as trialed at a project they have in Bath. Thanks for sharing, Joe! The GLNP are producing a Tree Strategy which will be based on a principle of 'the right tree in the right place'. While this is being prepared, we would like to point you in the direction of another Woodland Trust document, their Emergency Tree Plan for the UK. Finally, if you are in Stroud District and are interested in getting involved in growing trees, either by volunteering, supplying land, funding the acquisition of trees, creating a tree nursery or anything else, please get in touch with Claire at Stroud Valleys Project. She is doing great work coordinating a team of volunteers, matching supply with demand and getting trees in the ground! http://www.stroudvalleysproject.org/ The GLNP hopes to, in time, scale-up Clare's great work to deliver a county-wide coordinated approach to woodland creation and tree-growing. This image shows some native trees, predominantly Oak, being planted by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to sequester carbon and reduce flood risk in the Cotswold District.
Tree mania content media
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mattwhitney
Feb 14, 2020
In Meetings
On Friday 31st January, the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union was terminated. This event heralds the end of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the EU subsidy scheme which is considered by many to be at least partly responsible for driving environmentally damaging farming practices, contributing to ecological collapse, catastrophic soil loss, water pollution and more. The Department for Environment Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) intend to replace with an Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs) which rewards farmers for the public goods their practices and land provides. DEFRA are co-designing this scheme, and supporting a number of Tests and Trials across the country to guide policy design. Exactly 1 week after our departure from the EU, the GLNP held an event at the Royal Agricultural University to showcase the three Tests and Trials being conducted in Gloucestershire. over 60 farmers and LNP members attended this lively and informative event, and the presentations delivered by DEFRA, Farmers Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) and the Cotswold Conservation Board (CCB). These are attached below (one slide fits all) for your interest. The LNP will keep you updated with the progress of ELMs. A national pilot is set to be launched at the end of 2021, with CAP Basic Payments being tapered off from 2024. More information is contained within the DEFRA presentation.
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mattwhitney
Nov 26, 2019
In Trees
Following a very well-attended and passionate meeting of the Nature Recovery working group of the GLNP, a position statement has been created which represents a shared understanding, and provides the basis for a joined-up approach to dealing with Ash Dieback. Different partners in the GLNP, particularly land-owning partners, will have their own, perhaps regional or national positions, and their responses to this crisis will largely be guided by those considerations, but it was considered useful to offer a GLNP-wide position, not least in terms of communicating a rationale for actions to the Gloucestershire public. The statement details an approach that is based on risk and best-practice guidance. It puts the natural environment and public safety at the heart of decision-making around the response to Ash Dieback. It is hoped that this will prove a useful tool in communicating about the issue to all stakeholders.
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mattwhitney
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