Industry leaders from the forestry and land management sectors will meet in Perthshire next month to agree additional actions to boost the creation of new woodlands in Scotland.
The Woodland Creation Summit will be chaired by Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon and held on Tuesday 12th December at the Battleby Conference Centre.
During the day long summit, industry leaders directly involved in woodland creation, will put a spotlight on the different opportunities for growing more trees and also look at overcoming any associated barriers.
Scotland is increasing its new planting targets year by year, working towards a national woodland creation target of 18,000 hectares by 2024/25.
Looking forward to the summit, Ms Gougeon said: “We have very ambitious woodland creation targets in Scotland which are hugely important in terms of tackling climate change and nature recovery – the planet’s two biggest crises.
“But our woodlands are also vital in providing for the economy, supporting jobs and in strengthening communities and boosting healthy lifestyles.
“We need to expand our forests and woodlands but in a careful and considered way, and importantly to make them more resilient for the future.
“The summit provides a good opportunity to focus our attention on the specifics of woodland creation and act as a catalyst to create a step change in our planting rates.”
The organisation and running of the summit is to be managed by the Institute of Chartered Foresters. They will soon be writing out to invitees along with a short survey to collect initial views on boosting tree planting in Scotland.
Paul Lowe, interim CEO for Scottish Forestry added: “Woodland creation in Scotland is very much a shared endeavour where working together will deliver an expansion in our forests and woodlands.
“We all have important roles to play in boosting tree planting and the summit will explore what more each part of the sector can do to help get our woodland creation rates on the rise again.
“I’m very much looking forward to the summit and meeting those involved in the woodland creation process.”
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New planting figures are released each year in June. To date, Scottish Forestry has approved over 11,200 hectares worth of new woodland applications, which already exceeds last year’s total.
With more approvals expected in the pipeline, it is hoped that landowners will turn these applications into actual trees in the ground, therefore contributing towards the annual targets.
In June this year, a delivery action plan was announced aimed at ramping up tree planting levels. This included a £1 million investment by Scottish Forestry to provide comprehensive training for its staff to speed up the woodland creation application process.
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