FCS review of the year 2015-16
"The past year has been another busy and successful year for Forestry Commission Scotland. Our work is as varied as ever, benefiting communities by improving people's health and well-being, contributing to the economy and boosting the quality of the environment and biodiversity.
The Review of the Year showcases the highlights of 2015-16, and links to the FES Review of the Year 2015/16. We were delighted to receive unprecedented media coverage when we published a study which revealed how much forestry contributed to the economy. We launched our new forestry grant scheme to help support woodland creation. This has been well received and we have already begun work to look at other barriers to planting; and we celebrated 10 years of our Woodlands In and Around Towns programme which has helped to improve the quality of life for people living in urban Scotland."
Jo O'Hara, Head of Forestry Commission Scotland.
What do an award winning sound and light show in Perthshire and an architectural practice in the Highlands have in common? They are just two projects that demonstrate the hidden success story of the forestry sector. A report published last year showed that the forestry sector is a hidden success story, contributing nearly £1 billion through forest management, timber processing and recreation, as well as supporting over 25,000 jobs across Scotland.
Forestry and the environment
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. We work in partnership to safeguard Scotland’s trees. We are part of a new consortium of 15 Scottish organisations working with Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank as part of the UK National Tree Seed Project which aims to develop the first UK national tree seed bank. We have a wide range of strategies, surveillance activity and campaigns in place to help keep Scotland’s forests healthy.
Trees can help combat the increased risk of flooding brought about by climate change. We made two short videos demonstrating good practice water management in forests. We are also involved in an exciting project at Eddleston Water, near Peebles in the Scottish Borders which aims to restore natural habitats to reduce the risk of flooding and benefit wildlife.
Forestry and women
Women have played an important role in the forest industry since 1942 when the Women's Timber Corps was formed as part of the Land Army. Now, four of the senior leaders in Scottish public sector forestry are women. To help encourage more young women into forestry, an ongoing £300,000 targeted skills programme that has already trained up 82 women will receive extra funding to support another 20 female trainees.
Forestry and health
Forests and woodlands have a positive effect on anxiety and depression, reducing stress and mental fatigue. Our Branching Out programme has helped nearly 1,800 people with long-term mental health problems with long-term mental health problems. We are also helping to green up hospital grounds and we have even transformed a former bus park in the centre of Glasgow into a high quality greenspace community park. We also trained volunteer champions to engage with community groups in Central Scotland, helping to break down barriers to access in local woodlands.
We celebrated 10 years of our successful Woods In and Around Towns programme which aims to improve the quality of life for people living and working in urban Scotland by making woodlands more welcoming, particularly in some of Scotland's most socially deprived communities. During this time, WIAT has created or upgraded nearly 600km of paths, brought nearly 12,000 hectares of urban woodland brought into active management - that’s an area almost the size of Glasgow! – and restored vacant and derelict land to woodland. Find out what happened behind the scenes at Cuningar Loop - one of Scotland’s most derelict land sites which has been turned into a woodland park with a woodland workout area, adventure play, bouldering, and cycling tracks.
Forestry and timber development
Scottish timber is a fantastic sustainable resource and in Scotland, 75% of new houses are built in timber. The Festival of Architecture is now touring Scotland, show casing the best of architecture in Scotland, including examples of how Scottish timber can be used in design and construction.
Woodland creation plays an important role in contributing to the Scottish Government woodland target, as well as helping mitigate climate change by carbon sequestration and restoring lost habitats through developing forest habitat networks. Find out more about how the new Forestry Grant scheme helps support woodland creation.
National Forest Estate Review
Read about our key achievements on the National Forest Estate, the land we manage on behalf of the Scottish Government and the people of Scotland.