The South of Scotland Tree Planting project has just announced a new round of funding, with £120,000 available over the next 12 months to enable community groups, farmers and landowners to plant around 15,000 landscape trees across the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

Individual grants of up to £1,000 are available through the initiative, which is supported by Woodland Trust Scotland, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Scottish Forestry and private donations.

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Since the scheme first launched in April 2021, over 34,000 individual trees have been planted. As a result, the South of Scotland now has 25 new orchards, 120 small copses and 20 new parkland tree sites, as well as numerous riverbank, field margin and fence-line trees.

A dozen neglected small woodlands have also been restored. All will enhance the local landscape, increase wildlife habitat and biodiversity, capture carbon, shade rivers and help to reduce soil erosion.

Border Telegraph: Pictured at the launch of the South of Scotland Tree Planting project’s latest round of funding are Nicola Hunt, Borders Forest Trust, Jonathan Barrett, Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership, Hannah Cockett, Borders Forest Trust, McNabb Laurie,Pictured at the launch of the South of Scotland Tree Planting project’s latest round of funding are Nicola Hunt, Borders Forest Trust, Jonathan Barrett, Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership, Hannah Cockett, Borders Forest Trust, McNabb Laurie,

This year the project team are particularly encouraging applications for the planting of riverbank trees in the area. Clumps of trees located alongside rivers and streams can provide much-needed shade for young salmon and other fish that are susceptible to stress and even death in the higher water temperatures that are resulting from climate change.

Riparian tree-planting and associated tall grassland vegetation, provides habitat for other wildlife such as Otter, Kingfisher and insects such as Butterflies and Dragonflies. Ungrazed river corridors also provide ideal habitat for pollinating insects such as Honey bees and Bumble bees.

Overhanging trees help to stabilise river banks and lessen run-off during periods of heavy rain. This in turn reduces the levels of sediment and pollutants entering the river system.

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The South of Scotland Tree-Planting project is administered by the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership, Tweed Forum and Borders Forest Trust.

Derek Robeson, Conservation Manager, Tweed Forum, said; “Trees are hugely important for the local environment, increasing soil and water quality, creating vital wildlife habitat, capturing carbon and improving the landscape for local people to enjoy.

"This year, we’re particularly keen to receive applications for riverside planting along the banks of the many streams and rivers that we are lucky enough to have across the South of Scotland.

"Planted in the right place and at the right scale, they offer multiple benefits including landscape enhancement, flood prevention and biodiversity improvement.

"We hope that farmers and communities will apply for grants from this latest round of funding so we can all work together to enhance the environment across the region.”

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Hannah Cockett, Borders Forest Trust, said ‘’This scheme is a really simple way for people to play a role in increasing tree cover across the South of Scotland, and watching the trees mature and seeing the benefits it brings to the environment is hugely rewarding.

"Many people might think they don’t have the space for planting or that they couldn’t plant enough to make a difference, but even a small number of trees can bring significant benefits.

"The quality of our waterways has been a hot topic recently and the planting of riparian trees certainly has a large role to play in helping to keep our rivers and their inhabitants healthy.

Jane Sayers from Woodland Trust Scotland said “This grant continues to plug a major gap in woodland creation funding for the South of Scotland.

"Focusing on riverside tree planting will contribute to improvements in the health of river habitats as well as helping connect different habitat types throughout the landscape. We’re very happy to be continuing our support for another season.”

South of Scotland Tree Planting Grants are available up to a maximum of £1,000 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.