Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Handbook 2013 (NE349)
C    Options for trees and woodland
UPDATED in 2013
EC1 Protection of in-field trees on arable land
EC2 Protection of in-field trees on grassland
16 points per tree
11 points per tree

Figure 4 – Illustration of the protected area around an in-field tree

Trees are of historic and landscape significance in both arable and grassland situations. They also provide habitat for many invertebrates and birds. To be eligible for these options, trees must have a trunk diameter of over 30 cm at breast height and the trunk must be entirely within the field and not part of a field boundary. A tree in a remnant boundary is eligible, provided that it is not attached to a current boundary feature.

Trees that form a group or line of more than four trees whose canopies overlap are not eligible for these options, but one of the 6 m buffer strips or field corner options can be used to protect them. If the canopies do not overlap at the start of the agreement, each individual tree can earn the specified number of points. Dead trees are eligible for these options with the requirement that a ‘10 m radius from the base of the tree’ must be used as a minimum where the prescription refers to the ‘tree canopy’. Trees that die or fall during the course of the agreement must remain in position and the prescriptions must continue to be followed.

Where you have another management option in the same field, this must not overlap with an area managed under EC1 or EC2. The area of the other in-field option must be reduced by the area covered by EC1 or EC2, ie the area of the tree canopy plus 2 m. This is to prevent double payments. The exception to this is EK5, which can be co-located (overlapped) with EC2.

For these options, you must comply with the following:

  • Do not carry out any cultivations, supplementary feeding of stock, storage of materials or machinery, or weed control (apart from spot treatment) under the canopy of the tree and the area extending 2 m beyond the edge of the canopy.
  • Leave fallen timber in situ within the protected area.
  • Do not spread lime, fertilisers or manures beneath the tree canopy and the area extending 2 m beyond the edge of the canopy.

Fallen dead wood is an important habitat for invertebrates

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