From tackling climate change to creating jobs, the trees and woodlands of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park provide a huge range of benefits.
Their vital role in tackling climate change and biodiversity loss as well as supporting rural economies and health and wellbeing has been set out in a new strategy by Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority in collaboration with Scottish Forestry.
The Trees and Woodland Strategy highlights the value of trees and woodlands in the National Park and outlines how they are to be protected and enhanced over the next 20 years.
The strategy has been launched by Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon.
Ms Gougeon said: “The woodlands of the National Park are some of our most important natural assets. They have a vital role to play in supporting our national response to the global climate emergency while also contributing to a thriving rural economy.
“Trees and woodlands are also integral to delivering social and economic benefits to the area including employment, community involvement in woodland management, and the simple enjoyment of local residents and visitors to the National Park.
“We need to protect and enhance this precious resource for future generations and this strategy sets out the approach to do just that.”
Currently 31% of the National Park is covered by woodland, a quarter of which is native woodland. Much of this is of global importance for nature, including rare temperate rainforests and the most southerly remnants of Scotland’s ancient Caledonian pine forests. One of the key aims of the strategy is to increase native woodland cover in the National Park, helping to achieve the national native woodland creation of 3,000 to 5,000 ha per year.
The strategy also sets out how to better manage existing woodlands, support outcomes on biodiversity, and enhance the connections between nature, the economy and the health and wellbeing of those visiting, living or working within the National Park.
Simon Jones, Director of Conservation and Visitor Operations at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: “Our trees and woodlands provide such a huge range of benefits not just locally but for the whole of Scotland, and particularly in the efforts to tackle the global climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.
“Looking after our existing trees and creating new, well planned woodland will help capture more carbon and could support natural flood management. It will also increase the biodiversity of our rare Atlantic rainforests and other habitats and protect species such as black grouse and red squirrels.
“That’s why it’s so important that we have a clear plan that provides a guide for everyone who has a role to play in managing, protecting and creating woodland to work together to protect this precious resource. That means ourselves at the National Park Authority, our partners such as Scottish Forestry and land managers all the way through to individuals who either live or work in the National Park or the millions of visitors who come here every year to enjoy this amazing landscape.”
This strategy will also guide local implementation of the new national Scotland’s Forestry Strategy 2019-2029.
As part of the Strategy, Scottish Forestry is giving new woodlands a 10% uplift through the Forestry Grant Scheme to encourage new native and diverse conifer woodlands creation in the National Park.
Cameron Maxwell, Scottish Forestry Conservator for Perth and Argyll Conservancy, said:
“We’re delighted to have worked closely with the National Park to produce this new strategy which provides valuable guidance for agents and owners on the opportunities for managing and creating new native and mixed productive woodlands in the park.
“As part of this, and to encourage new woodland creation in the Park, we are providing additional grant support for new native and diverse conifer woodlands.”
To launch the strategy, Ms Gougeon met with farm owners Nicola Hornsby and Crispin Hoult of Achray Farm, Brig o’ Turk, and heard first-hand how the National Park Authority and Scottish Forestry works with land owners and managers on projects to support integrating woodland with other uses.
Nicola and Crispin received grant funding from the National Park Authority to plant native trees and hedges containing six native species to help reduce flooding and protect vegetation and livestock on the farm.
Nicola said: “We hope the trees we’ve planted with the National Park grant funding will help stabilise the riverbank, contribute to a reduced risk of flooding in the area and provide a natural windbreak for our young fruit trees. They will also help make the farm more attractive to wildlife as well as visitors who travel down the Three Lochs Forest Drive or who pass through the farm on the Great Trossachs Path.”
The Tree Planting Grant Scheme offers small-scale funding to businesses, organisations, individuals and community or voluntary groups to plant individual trees or small areas of woodland in the National Park.
More information on the Trees and Woodland Strategy can be read here.
Notes to editors
The Trees and Woodland Strategy is one of the key documents delivering on the National Partnership Plan 2018-2023.
The Partnership Plan sets out 13 key outcomes that the Park Authority and its partners aim to address over the next five years.
Outcome 1: Natural Capital
Outcome 2: Landscape Qualities
Outcome 3: Climate Change
Outcome 4: Land Partnerships
To read the National Park Partnership Plan 2018-2023 in full click here
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17th January 2020