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

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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.


New forest road and bridge removes timber lorries from minor road in Glen Orchy

Getting timber out of forests and to market means that heavily laden lorries are often have to be seen on minor roads in rural areas.

But one way to get them off those roads is for the lorries to make use of the 9,600km of in-forest road - and around 1,600 bridges – throughout Scotland’s forests

This amazing, hidden network - maintained by Forest Enterprise Scotland’s civil engineers – has recently been added to with a Glen Orchy project to replace a bridge, improve access and create new forest roads.

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The new bridge (replacing an old, 30m Bailey Bridge) is part of the ongoing extension of the forest road from Bridge of Orchy that will allow timber extraction without using the unclassified Glen Orchy road.

Gregg Reid, Area Civil Engineer for FES, said:

“The new bridge comes in at 36m and 44 tonnes and, as with any job of this size in the middle of a forest, it presented some interesting challenges.

“The next stage of this project is a 3.5km link road from the new bridge to the road at Sroine Hill.

“Once that’s completed, we’ll have a 15km stretch of in-forest road that will keep timber lorries off the minor public road, making travelling that much less stressful for everyone.”

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Support for Forest Enterprise Scotland's suppliers

Forest Enterprise Scotland has a broad and valued range of suppliers, many of which are small to medium enterprises and micro businesses. We are also very proud of our support for rural economies through our work in rural and often remote parts of Scotland.

To extend our support for our suppliers we have engaged with a public sector programme called the Supplier Development Programme.

The Supplier Development Programme offers a range of free support and training for all suppliers to learn how to tender for and improve their opportunities to win public sector work.

Forest Enterprise Scotland have now exhibited at two ‘meet the buyer’ events, which give small businesses unprecedented access to buyers from across the public and private sector, as well as training and support to improve prospects when tendering for public sector work. You can see what to expect at these events by watching a short video filmed by the organisers.

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At both events we were able to directly support forestry suppliers, with information about future tenders and how and where to look for our work on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS).

Our next steps are to work with the Supplier Development Programme to explore specific training events for forestry suppliers and forge links with public sector Economic Development Officers across Scotland through the SDP network.

If you’re a Scottish SME or 3rd sector organisation interested in working with the public sector, the Supplier Development Programme can provide free help and support.

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Investing and growing the visitor footfall and the profile of the National Forest Estate

We continue to seek to build on bumper visitor numbers National Forest Estate (NFE) through new opportunities and investments. 10.7 million visits were made to the in 2017 – an increase of 18% since 2013 (9.1million).

The NFE boasts over 1,200km of walking tracks, 130 cycle routes, wildlife viewing spots and 8 visitor centres making it an ideal place to come for a family day out or to take part in some healthy exercise. Forest Enterprise Scotland are continuing to take forward new opportunities through investments and facilitating new business opportunities for others to take forward.

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New land management plan guidance is tested in South Region

New land management plan guidance aims to provide more structured Land Management Plans. Plans now include upfront summaries of what the plan will achieve and a careful record of the rationale behind the decisions that Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) makes to manage the land to meet a wide range of objectives. Each plan now includes a list of the challenges that need to be tackled in the first ten years of the plan timescale, and how they have been resolved.

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Woods for learning

We work with education professionals to promote the use and benefits of teaching outdoors – particularly in woods and forests.

Our education advisors have been sharing their knowledge internationally that outdoor learning contributes to good health and wellbeing, and raises awareness of issues like climate change and sustainable development.

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£7million awarded to help minimise impact of timber lorries on rural roads

Every year millions of tonnes of timber cross the country, benefitting the economy and communities who depend on forest products. This timber haulage is an important part of the forestry life cycle, but often relies on using roads that weren’t designed for heavy traffic.

Over £7 million has been awarded to projects to help minimise the impact of timber lorries on Scotland’s rural road network, through the 2018 Strategic Timber Transport Fund (STTF).

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Cone collection provides seeds to sow as trees on the National Forest Estate

150 sacks of Sitka spruce cones and 72 sacks of Alaskan Lodgepole pine cones have been collected by hand to help provide seeds to sow as trees on the National Forest Estate.

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'Secret' butterflies found in the Trossachs

A ‘secret’ population of butterflies has been found in the Trossachs. The Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly, which is now very rare in England and Wales, but more widely found in the north of Scotland, was thought to be locally extinct in the Trossachs.

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A new vision for forestry

Views are being sought on a new draft Forestry Strategy for Scotland which aims to make the most of precious forestry resources and help cement the country’s reputation as a responsible global citizen.

The draft strategy sets out a long-term vision to inspire and stimulate a shared national endeavour to sustainably grow more trees to enhance our woods and forests both to make a greater contribution to Scotland’s climate change ambitions and to deliver more economic benefit for years to come.

The launch of the consultation, which runs for 10 weeks, is a key element in the delivery of this year’s Programme for Government.

Launching the consultation at Newbattle Abbey College, Dalkeith, with forestry and rural skills students, Mr Ewing said: “In April next year, the forestry devolution process will have been completed and forestry in Scotland will begin a new chapter.

“Scottish Ministers will be fully accountable for forestry and two new forestry agencies will come into being.

“It is only fitting that we also establish a new, long-term vision for forestry that increases our woodland area and delivers more economic, social and environmental benefits whilst protecting and enhancing our forest resources so that they provide more benefits for more people in 50 to 100 years’ time.

“It is also fitting that this Strategy is being developed in Scotland’s Year of Young People because our young people will grow up with our trees, and reap the benefits for themselves and their children.

“I would encourage everyone with an interest in the future of forestry to submit their views.”

The draft strategy, once finalised in 2019, will act as a 10 year framework for action, concentrating on three key areas:

  • increasing the contribution of forests and woodlands to sustainable and inclusive economic growth, especially in rural communities;
  • protecting and enhancing Scotland’s valuable natural assets, ensuring they are resilient and contribute to a healthy high quality environment; and
  • ensuring that more people are empowered to use forests and woodlands to improve their health, well-being and life chances.

The draft consultation will be open online until 29 November 2018.

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