Minutes of the Highland and Islands Forestry Forum meeting, 1st November 2011

Location: FESHO, Inverness

Members Present:

John Risby
Malcolm Wield
Evelyn Murray
David Jardine
Ben Lennon
Bob Stubbs
Will Boyd Wallis
Neil Sutherland
Amanda Bryan
Scott Wilson
Sheila Nairn
Steve Connolly
Steve North
Eleanor Garty
John McGlade
Diane Macpherson

Apologies

Becky Shaw
Robert Patton
Margaret Davidson
Tim Cockerill
Michael Foxley

1. MEMBERS' UPDATE

The chairman reported that there had been a number of changes to forum members with Cliff Beck and Bill Taylor retiring and Sheila, Diane and Margaret agreeing to various extensions to their term.

An external trawl for new members had not brought anyone suitable forward and this will be revisited again next year when further member changes occur.

2. WOODLAND EXPANSION ADVISORY GROUP (WEAG)

The WEAG was set up in August with the remit to look more closely at which types of land are more suited to woodland creation in Scotland. Whilst it will report finally by June 2012, there will be a road show in Dingwall early next year. The date for this will be confirmed at a later stage and notified to members.

It was agreed that Bob should produce a collective view from the forum, taking account of regional issues as they affect the Highlands & Islands. Members were asked to submit their thoughts and contributions in draft to Secretary by end of November in order that a composite response can be created.

3. PAWS RESTORATION

Scott Wilson gave a topical and informative presentation on work he had just completed for the Forestry Commission and the Scottish Forestry Trust. Published papers would be available in the journal forestry in due course.

4. TREE HEALTH

The next Forum agenda will include an update on tree health issues. FCS will circulate link to information from recent Forest Health day and request that agents notify FR of any Red Band Needle Blight infections.

5. COASTAL SITES

This work followed on from the site visit to Raasay at which the prospect of extraction direct from coastal sites was raised as a commercially viable option to timber harvesting.

GIS mapping had been carried out raising potential opportunities on both the west and east coast and some ground truthing of certain areas e.g. Applecross and Knoydart will be done by FCS and discussed again at a future meeting.

6. SRDP

John Risby to circulate a paper on initial FCS thinking on developing the forestry grants under the next SRDP post 2013. Discussion of this will be included in the next agenda.

7. 2012 MEETING DATES

The next meeting is set for 15 March 2012. Secretary to organise/re poll the August and December 2012 dates.