Sector engagement is key to a successful forestry strategy for Scotland

  • Insight

01 November 2018

Scotland’s Forestry Strategy outlines an optimistic green future, with an ambition to increase woodland cover from around 18 to 21 per cent of the land area of Scotland by 2032. When Fergus Ewing MSP and Stuart Goodall Chief Executive of Confor joined me in delivering a breakfast seminar on Scotland’s Forestry Strategy, the debate encouraged the industry to engage with Scotland’s Forestry Strategy Consultation.

The strategy outlined means increasing planting rates from 10,000 hectares (around 20 million trees) per year to 15,000 hectares (around 30 million trees) per year by 2024-25 - compared to the target of just 11 million trees in five years in England.

A 10-year framework for action to achieve a 50-year vision for Scotland’s woodlands and forests - aims to deliver greater economic, social and environmental benefits. This includes helping to meet Scotland's world-leading climate change target and working with other land uses to create a sustainable future for our rural areas.

The consultation on the Strategy was launched in September 2018 and ends on November 29th 2018 and we joined forces with Confor to inform the debate around the strategy - part of the process towards full devolution of forestry policy to Scotland, which will be complete in April 2019. Confor has published an article following the seminar which addresses a skills shortage as being ‘a threat to a dynamic sector’.

At the seminar, Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, outlined the thinking behind the strategy, with myself and Stuart Goodall, adding our perspectives.

There was a firm call to action for the forestry industry to engage with the consultation and help shape the future of forestry in Scotland:

• To set out a realistic vision for forestry in Scotland
• To help shape the Scottish Ministers’  objectives, priorities and policies
• To inform Ministers of matters in respect to the promotion of sustainable forest management

The event was a great success with over 70 industry representatives attending and plenty of questions for the panel. You can respond to Scotland’s Forestry Strategy Consultation up until the 29th November 2018.

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Our forestry panel take questions from the floor; Charles Dundas Public Affairs for Scotland at the Woodland Trust, Stuart Goodall Chief Executive of Confor and John Mitchell Head of Rural Land and Business at Anderson Strathern.