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International forestry leaders see full scopes of planting tress in Scotland

 Monday, February 19, 2024

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Recently, a group of senior executives from some of the world’s largest forestry and forest products businesses visited two large woodland creating sites in central Scotland to gain insights into the Scottish approach to delivering wide-range benefits through planting trees.

The visit to Knowes & Keltie, near Dunning, Perthshire and Jerah, between Dunblane and Menstrie, was attended by global forest sector leaders from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Finland and Sweden.

They all represent companies which are members of the International Sustainable Forestry Coalition (ISFC), open to “all global forestry owners, managers and investors who subscribe to the highest environmental, social and governance standards”. The aim of the Coalition is to promote sustainable forest management and help world leaders understand the role sustainable forestry and products from such forests must play in supporting positive outcomes for climate change, nature and social justice – as well as the shift to a circular bio-economy.

The ISFC played a role in an announcement at COP28 in Dubai last December supporting the need to substantially increase the use of timber in construction, and the need to connect this ambition to increasing the supply of sustainably-sourced timber and fibre. The announcement was made at a COP Presidency event under the auspices of the Forests and Climate Leaders Partnership (FCLP), co-chaired by the then United States Special Presidential Climate Envoy, John Kerry, and the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources for Ghana, Samuel Jinapor.

A coalition of 17 countries – including the UK – committed to “advancing policies and approaches that support low carbon construction and increase the use of wood from sustainably managed forests in the built environment” by 2030.

Ross Hampton, Executive Director of the ISFC, said: “Scotland is a fascinating example of tree planting within a framework of high levels of regulation, wide stakeholder consultation and competing drivers for land-use. At Jerah and Knowes & Keltie we saw modern and multi-species forests planted for a wide range of reasons – environmental, economic and social, and learnt how local communities are engaged in the forest planning process.”

When Jerah was planted on the hill above Menstrie, it was designed to reduce water flows down towards the town and reduce flood risks. Almost 1.3 million trees were planted on the 600-hectare site in 2018 during a carefully-planned project which also retained buildings of archaeological importance, improved public access for recreation and created new habitats for birds of prey. The planting was overseen by Andrew Vaughan, Regional Manager for Tilhill, who joined the Coalition visit alongside Ian Robinson, Managing Director of Scottish Woodlands Ltd, which manages Knowes & Keltie.

Scottish Government Minister Mairi McAllan visited the 450-hectare Knowes & Keltie site in 2022 and said Scotland was at the time planting 80% of the UK’s new woodlands because it recognised that “forests planted to produce wood can deliver a very significant range of benefits for our rural economies and for the future of our environment.”

Almost 1 million trees were planted at Knowes & Keltie, which is expected to provide a 3,150-tonne annual benefit in terms of carbon dioxide capture and storage. The scheme also promotes public access by linking forest roads and tracks to an existing network of core paths – particularly suitable for mountain bikers and walkers.

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, said: “This was an important visit to showcase multi-purpose forestry in Scotland. There is a growing global awareness of the valuable contribution that tree planting and the greater use of wood can make to tackling climate change and the ISFC has been established to support that and to promote the sustainable management of forests.”

Read more news on: Confor and Forestry

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