Focus on farm woodland to boost economic value of forests

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Farmers across Central Scotland, Ayrshire and Fife are being urged to consider woodland management and planting to help improve farm incomes and boost the region’s economy.

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) is encouraging more farmers in the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) area to consider how their businesses could benefit from management of existing woodlands and where new planting could support their business.  

Over the coming months, FCS is running a series of ‘Assess Your Potential’ farm walks in partnership with Soil Association Scotland’s Scottish Farming Innovation Network to highlight the on-farm opportunities for woodland management, with the next event on 5th December 2014 at Overburns Farm near Coulter in South Lanarkshire.

Julie Paton, CSGN Woodland Creation Programme Manager, Forestry Commission Scotland explains:

“Woodland management and new planting can provide a number of benefits to farm businesses, such as providing an on-farm timber; improving shelter for livestock or bringing undermanaged ground into production for longer-term incomes.

“We can help farmers by encouraging them to look at how their farm could benefit from added woodland areas and identifying the key management areas to get them started.”

The first ‘Assess Your Potential’ event was hosted by Janet and Jim Beveridge of Gartlea Farm, Gartocharn, who were keen to find out how they could make the most of their existing woodland and consider how the farm might benefit from new planting.

Janet Beveridge said: “We have a number of woods and shelter belts on our farm.  Past management has largely been stock exclusion for biodiversity benefits, rhododendron clearance and removing wind-blown trees.  The reason for hosting the event was to find out how to make better use of our woodland for economic purposes.  We're planning to install biomass heating using a log burning stove to heat two homes on the farm. 

"Trees have multiple benefits for farmers from heating houses, using them as shelter belts and reducing business carbon footprint.  I'd encourage any farmer to go along to one of the events to gain ideas for woodland management or woodland creation to find out how to improve your income."

The ‘Assess your Potential’ event on 5th December 2014 will be at Overburns Farm near Coulter and will explore pruning for quality trees, maintaining woodland features in the landscape and valuing individual trees.

For more information, contact Julie Paton at Forestry Commission Scotland or to register, visit the Soil Association Scotland website.

Notes to Editors

1.      Forestry Commission Scotland has compiled a baseline evaluation of forestry and woodland-related activities within the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) area in 2010.  The study, which quantifies a total of 12 indicators on the environmental, social and economic benefits, found that the GVA of forestry and primary wood processing in the CSGN area was £151.7 million.  In 2010, the CSGN area held 171,186 hectares of woodland with over 3,400 people employed in forestry and 240 businesses involved in forestry and wood processing.  The baseline will be used to monitor changes over time and the impact of interventions, such as increased woodland creation, which can support farms and rural businesses and provide social and environmental benefits for communities.

2. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government’s Environment & Forestry Directorate

3. The CSGN is a national development within the National Planning Framework which aims to make ‘a significant contribution to Scotland's sustainable economic development’. It involves public agencies and stakeholders working together to align their policies, programmes and actions to achieve a common aim. For more information, visit

4. The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, animals, people and the environment. Today the Soil Association is the UK's leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. To find out more visit

The Soil Association Scotland’s Scottish Farming Innovation Network involves farmers in the development and sharing of innovative techniques and best practice for improving productivity, quality and environmental performance, and showcases a practical approach to research and development for sustainable agriculture.

5.       For news, events and recreation information log on to or

6.   Tha FCS pàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba; a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìon, a' cumail smachd air, agus a' leudachadh choilltean gus buannachdan a choileanadh dha coimhearsnachdan, dhan eaconamaidh agus ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh sa ghnàth-shìde.