Hello, I’m Jane Gibson, ACT’s Farm and Croft Woodland Advisor. I’ve joined ACT’s rainforest team alongside Woodland Coordinators Philippa McKee and Ian Dow, Together, we're working with landowners and communities in ACT's landscape scale project areas - Knapdale and West Cowal. 

Portrait mage of staff member in woodland         Sunny woodland path

Photos by Jane Gibson/ACT. Main banner image by Ian Dow/ACT.

My focus lies in identifying and working with farmers and crofters who own or manage woodlands. Our aim is to plan for the protection, restoration, and enhancement of their woodlands, ensuring they become a healthy and resilient part of Argyll’s rainforest and valuable assets to farms and crofts. 

Across Argyll, numerous farms and crofts boast woodlands with native tree species, integral to the land for decades or even centuries. Historically, these woodlands supported livestock and families. Despite sometimes being isolated, fragmented, or in poor condition due to invasive species or heavy deer browsing, they play a crucial role in saving Argyll’s rainforests. These woodlands serve as vital habitat pockets for native trees, lichens, bryophytes, and a diverse array of wildlife.

My role involves working with farmers and crofters to better understand their woodlands and how they can be managed to align with Argyll’s Rainforest Strategy. Together, we aim to realise the added benefits that healthy woodlands can bring to farms and crofts in the long term. Each farm or croft presents unique challenges and opportunities, so close collaboration with landowners is key to success.

Here are some ways I can help:

  • Conducting baseline condition assessments on existing native woodlands to inform owners/managers of the current conditions of their woodlands.
  • Management planning including suggestions for restoration, protection and enhancement opportunities.
  • Advising on potential routes to funding to realise the objectives and opportunities identified.
  • Identifying sites where native woodlands can be expanded or connected through woodland creation.
  • Exploring opportunities to integrate other habitats and potential for agroforestry.
  • Facilitating partnerships between farmers, crofters and landowners to share information and expertise on woodland creation and management. 

Restoration and enhancement of rainforest has a wide range of benefits, including supporting Argyll’s Rainforest Strategy which aims to ensure Argyll’s rainforest will thrive once again. By adopting suitable management practices, woodlands can seamlessly integrate with farm and croft businesses, providing long term value and benefits for nature, livestock and people.

Ross Lilley, ACT Chair comments: "I am delighted that we now have Jane on board after many months in the planning. Farmers and crofters are currently experiencing huge challenges to adapt to our changing climate and maintain sustainable businesses whilst the agricultural support framework is changing too. Jane has come along at just the right moment to help farmers and crofters navigate these challenges in a way that works best for them and their business.”

Find out more

Read more about the threats facing our rainforests.

For further information please contact ACT Farm and Croft Woodland Advisor Jane Gibson [email protected]  

The ACT Farm and Croft Woodland Advisor role was developed with our partners in the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest including the Argyll Small Woods Co-op. This project is  funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is part of ACTs 'Argyll’s Rainforest, Engaging New Communities' project which will also see the launch of a Rainforest Squad, a native tree nursery and support the launch of a Rainforest Hub in Argyll.

 National Lottery Heritage Fund Logo

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the largest funder for the UK’s heritage. Using money raised by National Lottery players we support projects that connect people and communities to heritage. Our vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future. From historic buildings, our industrial legacy and the natural environment, to collections, traditions, stories and more. Heritage can be anything from the past that people value and want to pass on to future generations. We believe in the power of heritage to ignite the imagination, offer joy and inspiration, and to build pride in place and connection to the past.