Plans by the Dutch forestry commission and the timber sector to plant new forests in the Netherlands covering 100,000 hectares have gathered mixed reactions.
The aim of the new forests is to help tackle climate change but farmers in particular question the plan, which was drawn up without the input for farming organisations.
The cost of developing the new forests is put at €3bn over 30 years. Areas which would be suitable for forestation include the area of countryside in central Netherlands known as the Green Heart, the river area in Gelderland and the old peat settlements in Groningen and Drenthe.
In addition to a positive impact on climate change, the new forests would also be a valuable source of timber, the plan’s supporters say. Most of the wood currently used in the Netherlands is imported.
However, farmers, who are the biggest landowners in the country, are concerned that they were not consulted. ‘Is replacing agricultural land with forest really the most efficient way to solve the climate problem?’ said Gerbrand van het Klooster, of LTO Nederland in Trouw.
Farmers, he said, making strides to combating climate change with innovative manure strategies. And agricultural land, with an average value of €50,000 a hectare, will require enormous subsidies to be turned into forests, he said.
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