A sheep in the UK. The UK should farm trees, not sheep

The UK should ‘farm’ trees, not sheep

Grantham Centre experts have published new research which suggests the UK and Europe should radically rethink sheep farming. The research shows that sheep farmers would not need government subsidies if they let native trees spread to their land instead of using it for sheep. Further, they could sell credits for the carbon dioxide the new forests would absorb.

Sheep farming research makes the news

This study, touching as it does on issues raised by Brexit as well as the always complex issue of farming in relation to sustainability, has made a splash in the news.

Channel 4 presenter Alex Thompson tweeted about it and has had hundreds of replies. Warning: not all of them are suitable for work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And lead author Colin Osborne has been interviewed on the BBC’s Farming Today programme. You can listen to this here, at 4.37.

The story has also been covered in a range of national and local newspapers and other outlets. These include:

The Telegraph
Mail Online
Yorkshire Post
Yahoo UK
Belfast Telegraph
Northern Echo
Wiltshire Times
South Wales Guardian
This is Lancashire
i News
The Scotsman

Find out more about the research

The University of Sheffield has a great summary of this research which you can read here. It includes this quote from Colin Osborne: “Using public money to actively prevent reforestation in the UK and Europe is morally questionable given the pressure western governments place on the global south to end tropical deforestation.’

If you want to read the paper itself then you can find it in Environmental Research Letters. Read: Forest regeneration on European sheep pasture is an economically viable climate change mitigation strategy by
Ms Connie O’Neill, Mr Felix K.S. Lim, Dr David P Edwards and Professor Colin P Osborne.

Co-author Felix Lim is a Grantham Scholar. Colin Osborne was our Associate Director and is currently a Grantham supervisor. David Edwards is also a Grantham supervisor.


Image credit: Magnus Martinsen from Pexels