India's top foresters visit Lochaber to see restoration progress

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Some of India’s most senior forestry experts visited Forestry Commission Scotland’s Lochaber District recently to see first hand the results of the local team’s landscape restoration work.

The five-strong group, led by Dr PJ Dilip Kumar of the Government of India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests, included the Principals of India’s various forest institutes.

The Commission’s District Manager, Kevin Peace, said,

“Our Environment Manager, Ken Knott, was in India earlier this year to advise on local landscape restoration projects, and this is the second visit that the Indian foresters have made here.

“We must be doing something right because we seem to have generated quite a bit of interest both here and abroad.

“A lot of people have been involved in managing and developing the assets we have here, as well as in refining the expertise that we have built up over the years so it’ great for everyone to see their hard work being recognised at an international level.”

The visitors’ two day trip to Lochaber, which followed official talks in London and Edinburgh, included a tour of forest landscapes around the Great Glen and some guided exploration of native woodlands, particularly the Garry Pinewood. 

The Indian forestry experts are keen to work with the Commission to refine the shared expertise in landscape restoration to incorporate entire ecosystems.

Environment Manager Kenneth Knott said:

“Restoration of forest landscapes is about creating a mosaic that satisfies many objectives, from timber to wildlife. 

“The Garry hills complex has many native woodland remnants as well as key species such as black grouse.  A project that could link the native woodland remnants and enhance the area for black grouse and other species would be a great project to get involved in. 

“In fact, with some of the montane woodland species present, it would be a real landscape-scale project to restore a woodland mosaic from loch to hilltop.”

Notes to Editors
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate, managing, enhancing and expanding the 660,000 hectare national forest estate in ways that deliver benefits to Scotland’s people, communities, biodiversity and economy.

2) Forestry Commission owns approximately 14,000 Ha in the Garry Hills in a single area.  Currently 40% is wooded as a mix of native woodland and plantation.  Current indications are that a further 1000-1500 Ha could be added to create a mosaic.  This increased area will deliver on the government’s targets for biodiversity – black grouse, red squirrel, chequered skipper – as well as help meet Scotland’s emissions targets.