Farmers have been told that planting trees could play a significant role in tackling soil erosion, a problem which reduces soils by 2.2 million tonnes a year and costs the industry as much as £200 million.
Speaking at a fringe meeting at the Oxford Farming Conference, Professor Mark Kibblewhite, said, “Organic matter in the UK’s soils is declining, while compaction and erosion are widespread. A shelter belt or hedge can improve water infiltration rates of compacted soil by 60 times within three years of being planted. Hedges help to control soil erosion by water and by wind and are important infrastructure for soil management.”
His views were echoed by Cambridgeshire farmer, Nuffield Scholar and Director of Abacus Agriculture, Stephen Briggs who told delegates about his own experience. Mr Briggs outlined his experiences, and the global potential of agroforestry last year at a conference on novel crops held at the Warwick Crop Centre in Wellesbourne. Full details of the event and his presentation were reported in the January 2015 issue of The Vegetable Farmer magazine.