Trees and small woodlands on dairy and drystock farms - a review.

Project objectives

  1. Collate state-of-art in management of existing, and establishment and management of new trees/small woodlands on dairy and drystock farms and their impacts on ecosystem services.
  2. Investigate dairy and drystock farmer attitudes and perceptions of small woodlands on dairy farms
  3. Inform policy and guidelines for management of existing, and establishment and management of new trees/small woodlands on dairy and drystock farms.


The project is being predominantly carried out as a Masters by Research in association with University College Dublin.


The review will identify knowledge gaps and collate information on:

  • impacts on CO2 sequestration;
  • impacts on biodiversity;
  • impacts on ammonia emissions;
  • impact on water quality;
  • impacts on micro-climate;
  • effects on pasture and livestock;
  • design, establishment and management of tree-planting for dairy and drystock farms.

A survey, guided by Meijer et al’s (2016) conceptual framework for understanding the adoption of agricultural innovations, of dairy/drystock farmer attitudes and perceptions of farm woodlands and trees will be conducted.

First, an exploratory phase engaging with dairy/drystock farmers who have already adopted farm woodlands/trees. Factors that influenced these farmers to adopt will be explored. Their views as to what barriers exist to the greater adoption of farm woodlands/trees among dairy/drystock farmers will also be queried. Their understanding of the ecosystem services that these deliver will also be assessed.

A survey of dairy/drystock farmers to determine their knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of farm woodlands/trees as well as their willingness to engage in forestry, will be conducted. The structure of the questionnaire will be framed by Meijer et al’s (2016) framework of extrinsic and intrinsic factors that act as barriers or drivers to the uptake of agroforestry. The survey will also determine what farmers perceive to be the ecosystem services provided by small woodlands and trees on dairy/drystock farms.

The above will inform policy and guidelines to be created for farm woodlands/trees on Irish dairy and drystock farms.


This project is funded by Teagasc Grant-In-Aid and the Teagasc Walsh Scholarships programme.

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Dr. Sara Burbi - Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience - Coventry University, Ryton Gardens Campus, CV8 LG, UK
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