Plants are essential to everyone's lives. Welcome to Plantlife.

Five way to make Scotland’s farmland flora better

Wild flowers at Treshnish Farm, Isle of Mull. © Carolyne Mazur

© Carolyne Mazur

Now is the time to ask how things can be improved. In order to get the best for Scotland’s farmland plants and fungi, we need:

1. Resources that are targeted effectively

Agri-environment funding needs to continue to move towards monitoring outcomes that deliver biodiversity results.  Some measures need to be more flexible, especially in relation to High Nature Value Farming, while other schemes like the successor to the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme should be delivering more public benefits.

2. Measures that support High Nature Value Farming.

The complicated application process puts off many land managers applying for support, the problem being particularly acute in High Nature Value Farming land, including crofting land. In addition, current 5-year agreements are too short for effective land management.  For effective and cost effective management, ten-year agreements need to be available, paralleling current woodland management schemes.

3. Advice and support for farmers.

The availability of professional advice on biodiversity outcomes for farmers wanting to access agri-environment scheme funding has dwindled over recent years.  In order to achieve environmental benefits and value for money it is essential that management advice on maximising benefits for biodiversity is available, whether it is a protected site or a lowland arable farm.

4. Better monitoring of the biodiversity outcomes.

Current monitoring only measures whether the funding was spent. It does not focus on whether the funding spent achieved any positive environmental outcome.  Taxpayers need to know if the support provided resulted in more orchids for example, not on just whether the farmer spent the funding or not.

5. You!

Ask your elected politicians if they support the immediate priorities for agri-environment funding that Plantlife Scotland are calling for. The funding allocation for the Common Agricultural Policy and the Scotland Rural Development Programme is split amongst three layers of politicians: MEPs battle out the overall remit of the Common Agricultural Policy; MPs debate the Member State financial allocations; and MSPs are responsible for the more finely tuned measures that benefit Scotland’s rural land.