Scotland’s Forestry Strategy: a clear ambition by Eleanor Harris. ScotlaND’S Forestry Strategy came into force on april 1, 2019, along with two new delivery agencies: Scottish Forestry (grants and regulations) and Forestry and land Scotland (national forest estate). Together, these form the key elements of the new devolved arrangements for forestry in Scotland underpinned by the 2018 Forestry and Land (Scotland) Act.
NEW FORESTER jOINS THE TEAM OuR Inverness Galbraith forestry team welcomed a new member this year, Denis Torley. Denis has more than 20 years of professional forestry experience in both the private and regulatory sectors in the Highlands. Philippa Cliﬀ, head of forestry for Galbraith, said: “Denis will be a valuable asset to our team. In recent years Denis has been especially involved in forestry agency and investment purchases and in the creation of new woodlands for private clients. He is also an experienced negotiator in relation to Environmental Impact Assessments, mitigation arrangements, and consultancy agreements in the forestry and renewable energy Denis Torley. sectors. These are all of great relevance to our clients and we look forward to having him in the team.” Denis said: “I am delighted to be joining Galbraith, which has an enviable track record in the forestry sector and has gained a number of new clients over the past two years. “The industry is ﬂourishing and the Scottish government’s target of creating 10,000 hectares of new woodland was achieved in 2018 for the ﬁrst time. “There are signiﬁcant incentives to invest in woodlands, not least the rising global demand for timber both as a biofuel and in the construction sector, as well as the ﬁnite nature of uK wood ﬁbre supply. “Galbraith is well placed to assist those seeking to enter this high performing market.”
The strategy sets out a 10-year approach to expand, protect and enhance Scotland’s forests and woodlands, to deliver greater economic, social and environmental beneﬁts for current and future generations.
a long-term vision In the consultation, Confor welcomed the commitment in strategy to a long-term vision for forestry which should be sustained for at least the next 50 years. We also called for the strategy to say boldly and upfront that forestry is a good thing and that expanding the forest resource is a target of government. In the strategy as published, this is done in the ministerial foreword, which begins, ‘I have a clear ambition for forestry. I want Scotland to have more trees and woodlands’.
Independent voices Confor called for the establishment of an independent stakeholder panel to advise ministers on progress and delivery of the strategy, to ensure that future governments hear from across the whole sector: private and public, economic, environmental and social interests. We welcome the commitment in the strategy to establish such a panel, and to ‘partnership working… with private, public and third sector partners’ including ‘joint working with the UK Government and other UK devolved administrations’.
Filling the timber gap Confor asked for a recognition of the potential of short rotation forestry to satisfy demand for biomass and board. While this is not in the strategy, we will continue to make the case
for its importance as a component of delivering the strategy’s objective, ‘ensuring wood ﬁbre availability from Scotland’s forests and woodlands is predictable and increases over time.’
Developing silviculture Confor also called for recognition of the importance of sustaining a silvicultural thinning cycle for good forest management, as an essential element of management of both conifer and native broadleaf woodlands for economic, environmental and social beneﬁts. However, it is only recently that thinnings have been proﬁtable enough to return immediate ﬁnancial beneﬁt to the landowner, and the future market remains an uncertain basis to deliver long-term management. While there is a strong emphasis on ‘sustainable forest management’ in Scotland’s Forestry Strategy, this is largely envisaged in terms of adherence to the UK Forestry Standard for commercial conifers, and deer management for native broadleaves. Building on existing policies such as the Renewable Heat Incentive and Woodland Carbon Code, Confor would like to see the development of a policy framework promoting active forest management, particularly regular thinning, over the long term. This will enable all forests and woodlands to work equally hard to deliver multiple beneﬁts.
an exciting future In welcoming the launch of the strategy, Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, said: “There is an exciting future ahead for Scotland’s forestry and timber sector. It can help in the ﬁght against climate change and provides opportunities to diversify rural economies. “The sector has grown rapidly in the last 30 years and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government and other sectors in Scotland to realise further sustainable growth in the coming years and decades.”
Eleanor Harris is a policy researcher with Confor
galbraithgroup.com | Forestry matters | Summer 2019 | Page 17
News and Insight from the Forestry Industry