Sponsors sought for internationally acclaimed conifer project

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An evening event to celebrate Scotland’s role at the forefront of conifer conservation will take place at Scone Palace this week. (Thursday 18 November).

As well as marking the achievements so far of the iCONic project, the event - co-hosted by Forestry Commission Scotland, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) and Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust – will also aim to secure sponsorship funding to help the work continue.

Charlie Taylor, the Commission’s Forest District manager for Tay FD, has been involved with the iCONic project since it’s beginning. He said:

“The iICONic project builds on Perthshire’s unrivalled history of tree conservation work over the past 150 years.

“Modern-day plant hunters are replicating the work of David Douglas, collecting seeds from native forests across the world and bringing them back to Scotland to grow on before being planted out across a network of ‘safe-haven’ sites in Perthshire.

“By establishing breeding populations of these trees we are creating reservoirs of seeds that can be used at a later date for forest restoration programmes in their native countries.”

The conservation work is part of Scotland’s contribution to the International Conifer Conservation Programme, which for the past 20 years has been working around the world to assess the conservation status of threatened conifers and their associated species.

The iCONic project aims to offer a safe-guard against the threats to many of the world’s 722 conifer species from logging, mining, land clearance for agriculture and the impact of climate change.

Professor Stephen Blackmore, Regius Keeper RBGE, said:

“The expertise of the Commission and the RBGE is internationally acknowledged and the iOCNic project has helped put Scotland at the forefront of the international effort to preserve conifer species.

“It is undoubtedly an important element of the fight to combat the impact of climate change and may have future role to play in reversing the effects of deforestation and habitat destruction.”

Paul McLennan, Trust Manager, Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust, added:

“The Trust has been involved in the Perthshire Big Tree Country initiative for over 10 years. We are delighted to help support work  on the iCONic Project which is delivering conservation benefits of world  significance, and which has attracted funding from The Gleneagles Hotel through its ‘Supporting Big Tree Country scheme’.”

Notes to Editors
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages the 660,000 hectare national forest estate. It protects, manages and expands Scotland’s forests and woodlands in a way which helps in the fight against climate change. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland

2) The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) was founded in the 17th century as a physic garden. Now it extends over four Gardens boasting a rich living collection of plants, and is a world-renowned centre for plant science and education. www.rbge.org.uk

3) Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust (PKCT) is a partnership between Perth & Kinross Council, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Enterprise Tayside and The Gannochy Trust. It carries out projects that “provide and promote high quality opportunities for countryside access and recreation throughout Perth and Kinross, for the benefit of the community as a whole.”  It also offers grants to community groups, organisations and individuals, who wish to develop their own access projects. www.pkct.org


e-mail: paul.munro@forestry.gsi.gov.uk