On Wednesday afternoon, Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport - pictured with Provost Anthea Dickson and Cllr Margaret Johnson - visited the Woodland Creation Scheme at Munnoch Farm, Dalry.
The new woodland is comprised of 80,000 young trees and was created three years ago on former agricultural land previously used by grazing beef cattle.
The scheme is being supported by a SNP Government Forestry Grant of £360,000, which offers financial support for the creation of new woodland and the sustainable management of existing woodland.
The Cabinet Secretary was shown around the site by Keith Wishart, Conservator Central Scotland at Scottish Forestry, who explained that 70-80% of the trees are Sitka Spruce which grows well in Scotland’s marine climate, while the rest is made up of the native Norway Spruce and broadleaf trees.
Mr Matheson highlighted the importance of creating new woodland to achieve Scotland’s Net Zero aims and the need to balance each scheme’s commercial value with their environmental impact.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“Scotland has much less woodland cover than other countries in Europe, although it did increase in the 20th century. In 1918 only about 2% of Scotland’s land had tree cover. It’s now 18% and we hope to raise that to 25% by 2030.
“Over the last five years 84% of trees planted in the UK have been in Scotland.
“Appropriate woodland expansion will bring many important benefits, including helping mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through carbon sequestration, protecting soil and water and supporting a sustainable forest industry by providing a reliable timber supply.
“I am glad that, with the financial backing of the SNP Government and the expertise of Scottish Forestry, projects such as Munnoch Woodland Creation Scheme in my constituency will contribute to our ambitious target of increasing woodland cover across Scotland.”
More Information on the Forestry Grant Scheme can be found here.