Forestry Commission Scotland report highlights importance and potential of sector

The forestry sector in Scotland is realising its potential to make a wide ranging and significant contribution to the health of the economy, society and environment, according to a report published earlier this month.

The Forestry Commission Scotland report and plan — The Scottish Forestry Strategy Progress Report (08/09) and Implementation Plan (09/12) — highlight the sector's achievements of the past year and pinpoint future actions.

More than 250 actions proposed for the next three years will be carried out in partnership with 67 different organisations and will drive forward progress in areas such as business development, climate change, community access and health, and biodiversity.

Environment minister Roseanna Cunningham said: "Over and above the direct benefits of forestry, the sector also has a lot to offer our tourism, leisure and recreation sectors. And, of course, is on the front line of Scotland's efforts to protect and enhance our environment and biodiversity."

Key indicators of progress over the last year include:

  • the launch of phase II of the Woods in and Around Towns programme to support and develop urban woodlands;
  • the continuing development of forests as an educational resource;
  • a £209m contribution to Scottish tourism;
  • a rise in the number of non-domestic woodfuelled energy systems from 91 to 154.

The plan's action points are set out by theme and also range in scope from smaller scale local actions to national development plans. Examples include driving forward the industry's ability to tackle climate change, expanding and enhancing the timber sector, promoting greater levels of engagement with communities and contributing to rural development, tourism and local economies.

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