Scotland’s Long Term Forest Plans

Scotland’s Long Term Forest Plans

Wright DouglasWe all know that when it comes to creating woodland that we’re planting with the intention that the woodland will thrive and grow over a long period of time. We may all have various reasons for planting but regardless of our intended outcome, it’s important to get things right from the start and that requires good planning and preparation. According to Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), a Long Term Forest Plan is a 20 year that brings together the management objectives, the environmental, economic, and social functions of the forest, and the silvicultural prescriptions into a comprehensive plan to deliver long term benefits through sustainable forest management. Such plans are central to the current Forestry Grant Scheme in Scotland and some new guidance has now been produced which is designed to help foresters, practitioners and woodland owners preparing a plan. Douglas Wright MICFor of FCS, explains.

If you want to plant a woodland that’s 100 hectares or more, you’ll require an approved long term plan to be eligible for grants within the Forestry Grant Scheme. Obviously there’s a significant investment involved with woodland creation on such a scale. It’s important that you can demonstrate a clear vision for how the forest will fit in with the landscape around it and how you’ll manage it. It may, for example, be intended for timber production or on the other hand a means of identifying a land boundary. Could it enhance the biodiversity of the area? These are just some of the considerations needing addressed before getting to the planting stage.

fcs forests

We understand the complexities of completing some elements of the grant application process, including writing a Long Term Forest Plan. We’ve therefore produced some guidance material to help simplify the process and improve accessibility to all woodland managers. To introduce the guidance, we’re running a series of flagship events which will be a mixture of informative presentations, practical exercises as well as small workshops. The events provide people with a good knowledge base from which they will be able to produce their own plans.

I’m helping co-ordinate the events and so far we’ve had lots of interest. They’re a great way to meet others who are at a similar stage of the grant application process and to share experiences and understanding.Hopefully anyone attending will go away with the confidence to start developing their forest plan.

On a personal note, I really enjoy being involved in these types of events. It’s always good to meet with people who are involved with woodland creation and implementing the guidance we produce. You learn so much and develop a better understanding of their experiences or the issues they come across in practise. That kind of knowledge is incredibly valuable and can help us adapt or review our guidance and processes if necessary.

Long Term Forest Planning Essentials workshops are taking place across Scotland during September. For further information, visit the ICF Events Calendar.

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