The SNP Government has provided £550,000 for a new project to tackle the blight of the large pine weevil, which is regarded as one of the most serious threats to newly-planted trees in Scotland.
The large pine weevil, Hylobius Abiestis, can fatally damage young trees.
The SNP Government is working in partnership with Forestry Enterprise Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and the Scottish Funding Council, to find alternatives to the chemical pesticides which are normally used to control this insect.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP said:
"The pine weevil is a serious threat to the economic, social and environmental benefits that forestry provides.
"Each year, it is estimated to cause direct losses of around £5 million across the UK and significantly delay the re-establishment of future forest crops."
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
"As part of the SNP Government’s commitment to sustainably managing Scotland’s forests, we must seek non-chemical alternatives to pesticides and explore other physical or biological methods of pest control.
"This project has the potential to significantly improve the sustainable management of woodland in Ayrshire and across Scotland whilst dramatically reducing our dependency on chemical intervention."