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.

Branching Out celebrates holding 300 projects

Branching Out – FCS’s award-winning mental health and wellbeing project – celebrates holding 300 projects helping over 2,000 people since it was launched 10 years ago.  

Branching Out

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Successful tree felling as part of challenging steep ground programme works

5,300 tonnes of timber has been felled and extracted as part of the on-going and challenging steep ground programme works under the A82 project.

The latest felling was completed at Primrose Bay (Loch Ness), in June where the operations team has been working for over 18 months. The felled timber has many uses, including one 9.0 metre long log which will be crafted into an Iron Age canoe.

view from primrose bay

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Four more communities successful in purchasing parts of the National Forest Estate

Four more applications for communities to buy or lease parts of the National Forest Estate have been approved under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS).

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A 9.0 meter Douglas Fir is being converted into an Iron Age canoe

An unusually large log was sourced from the National Forest Estate (NFE) to be converted into an Iron Age canoe, demonstrating the diversity and quality of timber grown on the NFE.

A number of specialist timber customers seek quality, large dimension timber for a manner of conventional and sometimes unusual applications. Logs of the size requested by the School of Ancient Crafts in Edinburgh – a 9.0 meter log with a top diameter of 0.8 meters - are not common. However one was sourced after some stunning Douglas Fir trees had been harvested at Primrose Bay in Inverness, Ross and Skye Forest District as part of the A82 project.

Finding the right tree at Primrose Bay was one thing but recovering it was another matter on what is a technically challenging site. This particular log was extracted the entire length of the harvesting site and skilfully placed at roadside, a testimony to the professionalism of both local FES staff and harvesting contractors.

In June the log was transported to the Hub in Granton, Edinburgh where its conversion into a canoe will take place over the summer by workshops held to give the local and the wider community an opportunity to learn new skills. 

9.0m Douglas Fir

The 9.0 meter Douglas Fir log awaiting uplift from Primrose Bay.

The tee ready to be lowered

The Primrose Bay Douglas Fir log about to be lowered into its new home at the Hub, Granton

While Primrose Bay has predominantly yield specialist Douglas Fir logs, this summer two loads of Oak logs where purchased by Fife based Scottish Wood who only purchase Scottish timber for a range of projects and applications. Demand for Oak is particularly strong across the UK and increasingly for characterful timber which is good news for growers such as FES who have resources of this type of timber. 

oak logs

Oak logs from Primrose Bay ready to be processed at Scottish Wood near Dunfermline.

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Investigating lost ruins

Forest Enterprise Scotland recently surveyed and investigated the farmstead of the Wee Bruach, a series of ruined late 18th century buildings, enclosures and corn drying kilns in Loch Ard ahead of harvesting operations. The buildings were identified as unusual by the Scottish Vernacular Buildings Group. However, trees were growing very close to the buildings, so we recorded the site in advance of careful felling by Harvester machine. The buildings were surveyed by terrestrial laser scanning alongside an investigation of the available historic archives. This resulted in a detailed record of the site, informed the safe felling of the surrounding trees and has added to our knowledge of the history of the area.

Wee Bruach Caoruinn

This image shows the original hand-drawn plan of the farmstead from 1963 alongside the new plan, created using laser scanning and photographic colour.

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Scotland leading the way for new woodland creation

New figures released in June show that Scotland was responsible for 78% of new woodland creation in the UK last year. A total of 7,100ha of new woodland was planted.

Around 60 per cent (over 4,000ha) is ‘productive’ planting – specifically aimed at growing sustainable timber with 40 per cent native. This is the highest level of productive planting since 2000, and is crucial in supporting the sustainable growth of Scotland’s home-grown timber processors, who have been investing heavily in recent years in places such as the extended Norbord plant at Dalcross near Inverness.  

planting fc

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A day in the life of a Ranger in Aberdeenshire

Jackie Cumberbirch is a Ranger for Forest Enterprise Scotland, based in Moray & Aberdeenshire Forest District.

What does being a Ranger involve?

“It’s my job to assess what wildlife is present in Clashindarroch forest and woods in north and central Aberdeenshire before forestry work such as cutting trees (providing wood and timber for use in our daily lives), road construction and tree planting starts. I carry out surveys and, if required, make plans that will schedule forestry work to minimise impact or if necessary stop forestry work from impacting on protected animals or plants.”


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Hazelwood creation at The Faery Isles, West Argyll

30 kilos of hazel nuts were painstakingly hand-gathered to plant 4,000 hazel and 400 oak trees to create a new hazel wood in the Faery Isles, Knapdale, West Argyll.

Faery Isles Hazel Site

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Managing forests for wildcats

Wildcats are one of Scotland’s most endangered animals and their conservation and protection is of the highest priority. As with other endangered species, we work hard to protect them as part of our sustainable forest management.  Our aim is to ensure that wildcats can thrive on the National Forest Estate.

Clash cat 1

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