Scotland’s woodlands up for discussion

WOODLAND expansion across Scotland is an objective of the Scottish Government but increasing woodland cover also needs to take into account other land uses therefore a series of meetings on the topic has been arranged, one of which is taking place at Newtown St Boswells later this month.

Organised by the Woodland Expansion Advisory Group, which was set up to identify the types of land for future tree planting, the meeting should provide an opportunity for those interested to discuss and give feedback on the work being done by the group.

The views of over 100 people so far have been received, after the group, consisting of 18 members from backgrounds in farming, conservation, forestry, land use and community relation, asked for ideas on how to tackle the issues surrounding woodland expansion.

Dr Andrew Barbour, chairman of the Woodland Expansion Advisory Group, said:“From the outset we have been very keen to consult as widely as possible and receive views from a wide a range of interests.

“The group is undertaking a series of seven stakeholder meetings across Scotland and we hope the proceedings in Newton St Boswells will offer a lively and constructive debate.

“By February we will have a clearer picture of how we think the conflicts between tree planting and other land uses can be minimised.

“ We will wish to share our thoughts with those being directly affected so that we can be confident that our end proposals will be realistic and practical.”

The Borders meeting is on Tuesday, February 28, at 6.30pm and all those who wish to attend and receive further details of the venue are asked to register well in advance at weag@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

After the series of meetings the Woodland Expansion Advisory Group will collate all the information in time to offer advice to the Cabinet Secretary, by June 2012, on: identifying more closely which types of land are best for tree planting in Scotland, in the context of other land-based objectives; and promoting good practice and local processes in relation to tree planting so as to secure multiple benefits.”