News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

News blog

News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate. You can follow this feed with RSS or Atom, or on Twitter. We also publish press releases.

Success story for Capercaillie in Strathspey

Forest management today is about much more than planting and harvesting trees. Just one of the areas we focus on is making sure the woods provide the best possible conditions for wildlife, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that forests managed for timber production provide an excellent habitat for many species, including the magnificent capercaillie.

Our management of the National Forest Estate in Strathspey has seen capercaillie numbers increase dramatically and has earned Forest Enterprise Scotland a top award.



Restoring woodlands to help reduce the risk of flooding

Healthy thriving forests can help Scotland to deal with some of the risks and challenges that a changing climate brings. The right type of trees and woodlands in the right places, alongside other natural measures, are vital to help avoid or alleviate the pressures of diffuse pollution, sedimentation, increased flood risk, increased temperature and bankside instability on the water environment that are predicted to arise from climate change.

It has been demonstrated that Natural Flood Management, alongside more traditional engineering measures, present viable options to alleviate the risk of flooding.

Our aim is to reinstate natural features of landscape such as floodplains and woodlands, so that flood water can be better stored and slowed down and downstream communities become more flood resilient.

Other benefits include improving the river habitat for wildlife and fisheries, sequestering and storing carbon in trees, helping local farms and improving the landscape.

student visit to eddleston


Keeping our forests healthy

Scotland’s forests are under increasing threat from tree pests and diseases due to rises in global travel and trade resulting in the introduction of new species. The impacts of these, and our native pests and diseases, can be intensified by climate change. Pests and diseases can spread rapidly, damaging the health of our trees and forest ecosystems, and negatively impacting the forest industry.

We are working with a wide range of Scottish stakeholders to manage and mitigate the risks of tree pests and disease, and with other Government departments to help prevent new arrivals. This includes liaising with plant health colleagues across the UK and further afield to keep abreast of the latest threats, monitor their progress and act to prevent their spread.

scots pine landscape


Vote for us - Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning

Four of our projects have been shortlisted for a Scottish Award for Quality in Planning.

Kirroughtree Visitor Centre, The Lodge, Glentress Masterplan and Nevis Forest Masterplan all made the shortlist for a 'People's Choice' Award which also forms part of the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning.  The award is part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. The awards are supported by the Scottish Government and the Festival of Architecture. This gives everyone a chance to get involved and express their ideas for whatever they consider to have been of great innovation, architecture and design in Scottish planning over the last 6 years.  The winner will be the project with the most votes.  You can vote for your favourite project. Here’s a bit more about each project.



Painting a picture of the past

Scotland’s forests are home to a range of historic sites from ancient hillforts and medieval tower-houses to abandoned townships and coastal tank traps. We have been developing our knowledge of archaeological sites, historic structures and cultural landscapes so that we can know how best to protect, conserve and present them. Part of our work also involves helping young people learn about these sites as part of the curriculum.

torr dhuin aerial shot


Helping to kick start a new generation of farmers

We have successfully piloted 7 opportunities on the National Forest Estate for new entrants to farming.

The pilot scheme was designed  to provide “first rung” opportunities – essentially blocks of land only with no houses or farm building to help kick start a new generation of farmers.



Wilderness experience for the Central Belt population

A new trail has been officially opened in the Kilpatrick Hills as part of a project is to increase the number of visitors enjoying the beauty and wilderness of the Kilpatrick Hills.

The 8km route joins the National Forest Estate to the popular John Muir Way which stretches 134 miles between Helensburgh and Dunbar. The John Muir Way is an easy and enjoyable way for the 3 million people who live in the Central Belt to enjoy the outdoors every day by foot, bicycle, and even by horseback in some places. 


Why don’t you tidy that mess up?

If you have ever visited a woodland not long after harvesting machinery has been on site, you’ve probably wondered about the mess that is left behind and why we don’t clean it up. Choosing to leave the 'mess' is actually a deliberate decision as it benefits the forest ecosystem and biodiversity.

Harvesting aftermath


Volunteer Community Champions launches second year of programme

Volunteer Community Champions has launched its second year of the 10 month programme. The woodland programme is designed to train up to 12 community volunteer champions to engage with community groups in Central Scotland, helping to break down barriers to access in local woodlands.

volunteer community champion event