Grants and Subsidies for trees | Agroforestry

The EU do it

The USA do it

The UK do it

NZ stopped doing it in the 1990s but then they started again
Almost all Australian governments have been doing it for years
Everyone does it - but it never works!

Whether for conservation, biodiversity, timber or carbon, giving grants and subsidies to farmers to 'incentivise' them to plant trees, does not work.

They actually make things worse.
In this free 10-page extract from my book "Heartwood" I list 10 reasons why grants and subsidies for tree growing on private farms do not drive landscape change.
The extract starts with my friend and farmer, Andrew Stewart, the 2020 recipient of the most prestigious Landcare Award in Australia. Andrew and his family have been planting trees for 30 years on Yan Yan Gurt West Farm. He did accept some money for Landcare plantings in the early 1990s, but wont do it again.
I've been planting trees every year for 35 years. I did accept some small government grants in the 1980s in an attempt to change the system from within - it didn't work. I regret it and have not accepted any public money for tree planting for over 30 years.
If your organisation provides, or is considering, grants and subsidies to farmers who adopt particular agroforestry, Landcare or farm forestry plantings, please reconsider.
Don't just look at the trees funded by the grant; look at the impact your program is having on community confidence, engagement and investment.
There are alternatives. Andrew and I are members of the Otway Agroforestry Network. We have 200 members and have had over $3M of public support (over 30 years) but do not give farmers grants for trees.
Please read, respond and share this post so we can have an open debate about how we can truly engage and support the establishment and management of trees on farms for both private and public good.
Rowan Reid
Forest Scientist,
Owner of the Bambra Agroforestry Farm
Fellow of the University of Melboune
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