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.

Art and archaeology in Scotland’s woodlands

Scotland's woodlands are home to many treasured species and places – including many historic and archaeological features with an abundance of colourful, incredible and tragic stories to tell, from as far back as the last ice age right up to the 20th Century.

Our historic environment programme includes a wide range of sustainable conservation management from path repair on ancient duns and hillforts to masonry consolidation of 18th century military bridges. But we also find time to celebrate our cultural heritage – and always try to find creative ways to do so...

Achlain Bridges


Cattle conservation grazing project

Protecting and managing our iconic landscapes requires some innovative thinking. In several sites across Scotland, we revived old forest management techniques to tackle a range of land use issues.

First Cross Heifer


Women in forestry

Forestry is traditionally thought of as a male dominated field. However, women have played an important role in the forest industry for many years and now, for the first time, four of the senior leaders in Scottish public sector forestry are women.

The history of women in forestry stems back to 1942 when the Women's Timber Corps was formed as part of the Women's Land Army. The 'Lumberjills' replaced the men who had answered the call to war, carrying out the arduous tasks of felling, snedding, loading lorries and trains and sawmilling timber all over Scotland. The Women's Timber Corps was disbanded in 1946.

lumberjills at a sawmill


Urban Makeover – from bus park to vibrant greenspace

Making places nicer to live and work is at the heart of the work we do, so transforming some vacant and derelict land in an urban area into a high quality greenspace community park was challenge we just couldn't turn down.

Camlachie – in the East End of Glasgow – has been consistently identified as one of Scotland's most deprived communities. Despite the housing area being completely regenerated, the community still had no access to green or open space. In the heart of a residential area lies a former bus park for Celtic Football Club – an unsightly space that provided no benefit to local people.

Our aim was to transform this into a place that improved local people's quality of life, encouraged healthy lifestyles and outdoor activity as well as providing habitat and wildlife benefits.

View of camlachie


Peatland restoration - a path more often travelled

Bog - wet, easy to sink into, need to wear your wellies, and off the beaten track...

A bog is a wetland made up of a range of wetland plants and mosses, including several species of Sphagnum Moss. Sphagnum moss thrives in constantly wet conditions. Raised blogs began forming 7,000 to 8,000 years ago, and blanket bogs over the last 2,000 years. These bogs have a wide range of benefits including providing a home for animals, storing carbon, adding to the landscape, and helping to regulate water flows and reduce flooding downstream.

West Lussa (before)


Dementia pilot project success

Forests and woodlands have a positive effect on anxiety and depression, reducing stress and mental fatigue.

Over the past few years our Branching Out and cardiac programmes have been helping people with mental health and heart problems to access our woodlands and gain health benefits from activities and gentle exercise in the outdoors.

Due to the success of these projects, we ran a Dementia Pilot project in 2014 which was part of a research study for people with early-stage dementia.

Tree art


The benefits of good water management in forests

Good forest management is about much more than planting and cutting down trees. We are working to protect and improve Scotland's water environment by reducing rural diffuse pollution.

Trees help to reduce the amount of pollution that drains from land by soaking up run-off and reducing the amount of soil that gets washed into watercourses. The woodlands need to be managed well though, so that a good canopy and root system grow using the least possible amount of cultivation, fertilisers and pesticides, and so that water doesn't drain directly from harvesting and planting sites into watercourses.

Mounder Blades


First starter farm for the Highlands

Lambing season has now well and truly arrived and with that comes news that new tenants have been given their keys to our eighth starter farm in Achnamoine in Caithness. 

lambs paintedited


An insider’s view – from beautician to woodland warden

Lesley Stalker has been on a fantastic life changing journey after she fell in love with the outdoors and changed her career from beautician to an award winning Woodland Warden.

Lesley Plantingeditededited