Research projects

Agroforestry and Orchard Pilot Study

Contract Period : 01/02/2023 - 01/05/2023

Main Funder : Shropshire Council

ORC Staff Contact : Will Simonson

Assessing the results and outcomes of a mini-grant scheme supporting tree planting activities as part of Defra’s Trees Outside Woodlands programme.

Project Leaders and Partners

  • ORC

Project Aims

This pilot aims to establish the rate of uptake of agroforestry and traditional orchard establishment in each targeted area and to investigate whether incentives such as government contributions to the initial capital cost of establishment, or tailored advice, could encourage greater uptake by farmers, smallholders and communities.        

The pilot offers an excellent opportunity to assess the effectiveness of a simple grant scheme in encouraging tree planting on farms, identify lessons for informing subsidy mechanisms such a Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) standard and – through a wider review – survey complementary funding mechanisms needed to create an encompassing offer of wide reach.

Current progress highlights

This project required a combination of methods to evaluate the success of the Agroforestry and Orchards Pilot. Online surveys, farm visits, semi-structured interviews, and a literature review have formed the bulk of the work and were carried out over April to June 2023. The results have fed into a final report which has been submitted to DEFRA for review in June 2023. 

Previous relevant work

Agroforestry ELMS Test and Trial (  

ORC's Role:

Leading the project to investigate how different levels of subsidy and support impact on the uptake of agroforestry and orchards with landowners in the four Trees Outside Woods (TOW) pilot areas

Understand what barriers to uptake still exist for landowners who have expressed an interest in planting agroforestry and orchard systems and what gaps in funding there may be

Explore different sources of ‘blended’ funding such as loans and carbon credits and how these may fill any gaps in funding that exist.

ORC Team involved with this project

Principle Researcher, Agroforesty
Christian Gossel
Farm Sustainability Researcher