November 8, 2021

“Implement a carbon tax to incentivise local production”

In the 12 days of COP26, we’re sharing 12 policy suggestions from our series ‘Wood for the Trees.’ 

We met Chris Smaje, author of ‘Small Farm Future, and his wife Cordelia at their small-holding in Somerset, to talk about agroecology and agroforestry principles. 

“Climate change is rising up the agenda and there’s the whole rewilding movement, and people are getting more interested in thinking about wildlife,” said Chris. “It’s a great time to be thinking about this and integrating trees. My concern is that we’ve got to keep thinking about food as well. It’s not it’s not just trees and it’s not just wildlife, or climate change. It’s about producing food for ourselves locally – and that’s where agroforestry contributes because there’s the ‘agro’ bit as well as the forestry.”

“Really what we need to be doing is relocalising food and and producing more of  it ourselves, integrating it better in the landscape but our hope is that the policy framework is more geared to thoughtful integration of trees and biodiversity into the landscape”

Tom asked “If you could suggest one policy that the government could implement to support the work you’re doing here what would that be?”

Chris replied “I’d probably say a carbon tax, because so many of the problems that we have are connected with cheap fossil energy that makes it easy to sort of divide land uses up into  single monocultural sorts of things. I mean, there’s loads of other reasons why a carbon tax  would make sense but it would really incentivise people to be producing food and other products, such as woodland products, locally in the landscape in a way that’s not really happening at the moment when fossil energy is so cheap.” 

Watch all twelve policy suggestions in our short film ‘A Better Future for our Forests: 12 ideas to help them grow’


Find out more about Vallis Veg farm and Agroforestry in work in part seven of ‘Wood for the Trees,’ on youtube.

For more information about the series visit

See the next idea from our expert guests: Always plant improved material when planting trees for timber.



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