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Tenanted farms and woodland creation – Evidence review and expert interview insights

Harry Marshall, Katy Spencer, Marios Theocharopoulos, Stephen McConnachie

Lead Author: Stephen McConnachie

This paper summarises the social science evidence relating to tenanted farms and woodland creation in Great Britain. Tenanted land makes up 20% of the agricultural land in Scotland, 27% in Wales, and 33% in England. This is a substantial area of land, yet relatively few trees are planted on tenanted farms. The paper draws on a literature review and a subsequent series of nine interviews with key stakeholders to sense check and build on the review findings. It focuses on the barriers, opportunities, and questions which relate specifically to tenant farming.

Six main themes emerged from the literature (legal; temporal; economic; complexity; values, tradition, and identity; and relationships). These themes were used to structure the interviews and this paper. We have identified few clear opportunities for expanding tree cover specific to tenanted land. However, there are several barriers, most notably due to legal and economic factors, but also relating to tenant farmers’ objectives and how they see their roles. Nonetheless, the evidence suggests that positive relationships between landlords and tenants may allow other barriers to be overcome. The latter area is the one where further social science research could be of greatest value.

Publication type
Research summaries
Behavioural Scientist
Stephen 600x600

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Status current