INVESTIGATION: Revealed: ‘radical’ vision for Scotland as ‘woodland nation’

By Rob Edwards, Ferret Investigations Editor

June 13, 2021

The Scottish Government should buy up, break up and sell off large forestry estates to diversify woodland ownership, experts are recommending.

That’s one of the key changes needed if Scotland is to double its tree cover so that 40 per cent of the country is woodland within the next hundred years, they say — with 60 per cent being native trees.

A forestry think tank commissioned by former Green MSP, Andy Wightman, is urging “lateral thinking” to break the logjam on land reform by using “transitional public ownership” – public agencies buying up forests and selling them on. It has outlined a “radical” vision for a “woodland nation”.

The report, published today, has been widely welcomed by campaigners as “practical”, “well-considered” and “thought-provoking”. But the forestry industry described the 40 per cent target as “extremely ambitious” while landowners were critical of calls for changes in ownership.

The Scottish Government agreed that more trees needed to be planted but said this should be done “in a careful and considered way”. It said it was “committed to land reform on an ongoing basis”.

The full story on this can be found on The Ferret website.  Also, a report of moves to build 82 houses at Clerkhill in Dumbarton’s West End, one of the greenest parts of the town,  has sent tree lovers scurrying to find what tree preservation orders are in place there since Lumberjack Jonathan McColl, leader of the SNP administration at West Dunbartonshire Council, has an appalling record of saying one thing and doing another in regard to tree preservation. Readers should watch out for that story later this week. Editor

Picture (top of page) : The north east shore of Loch Lomond where more tree planting is planned. Picture (above) Drumkinnon Bay where tree felling started at Lomond Shores but stopped abruptly when it was discovered it was being done without official permission.

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