Consultation on Scotland’s National Tree Now Open!

Consultation on Scotland’s National Tree Now Open!

ICF Executive Director Shireen Chambers FICFor today attended an event at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh to mark the opening of the public consultation on a National Tree for Scotland. Joining organisations that had backed the call for a National Tree, representatives from the Forestry Commission and the Scottish Parliament, as well as campaigners and local schoolchildren, she heard from Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse that the Scottish Government was sympathetic to the concept of having a National Tree of Scotland and wanted to hear what the people of Scotland think about the idea – and what their choice would be.

Mr Wheelhouse  said, “People in Scotland have a great affection for trees. A national tree could be a powerful symbol to help raise the profile of trees and their contribution to so many aspects of today’s society. At no time has it been more important, as some of our woodlands are currently under threat from a number of serious tree health problems.”

The objective of this consultation is to get views from a wide range of people, including schoolchildren, before taking a decision about having a National Tree of Scotland.  Over the next three months the public will have the opportunity to say whether they would like a designated tree and, if so, which species.

The consultation will set out presentations promoting the Scots pine, alongside three other contenders, the rowan, the birch and the wych elm although any tree could be considered. The consultation will run until 3 December.

The idea for a national tree was first raised at the Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee earlier this year by campaigner Alex Hamilton.  He had also used his petition to suggest the Scots pine was “the most worthy symbol of our woodlands and of a modern Scotland”.

Mr Hamilton said, “It is a statement that we in Scotland value our woodlands and think they are important. Most countries in the world have a national tree and I think Scotland should have one as well.” He added that there had been much support for the idea from the public, politicians and a number of organisations concerned with Scotland’s natural environment.

ICF members have also been encouraged to have their say, after all who better to comment on the choice of a National Tree for Scotland than those tree professionals who manage many of Scotland’s woodlands.

Speaking after the launch event, Shireen said, “The ICF is delighted to support the Scottish Government’s consultation on a National Tree for Scotland. This is a great way to engage with people who don’t usually think of trees at all and public awareness is needed if we are to combat some of the serious pests and diseases around. Scots pine seems to be favourite but who knows, maybe even Sitka spruce will get a few votes from our members!”

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