7 Mar 2022

Guidance for woodland owners after storms

New practical and easy to understand guidance for owners of small woodlands has been published to help them clear storm damaged trees.

The guidance is aimed at woodland owners who may not have experienced windblow of this scale before and are not sure of the key steps needed to manage the recovery of timber.

A Top Ten checklist, supported by a more detailed information note, is now available online. It has been produced by Scottish Forestry and Confor, in consultation with the NFUS and Scottish Land and Estates.

Welcoming the guidance, Environment Minister Màiri, McAllan said:

“Storm Arwen was the first storm to hit this winter. Very quickly after, the forest industries pulled together and started strategic work to plan out the recovery of fallen and damaged trees.

“A number of meetings have since taken place and it is very impressive how the industry is collaborating so well and managing this process across the supply chain.

“There are many smaller woodland owners who have not dealt with such a clear up operation before. This new guidance is aimed at them so that they have clear advice on dealing with the aftermath of Storm Arwen and the subsequent storms.”

Storm Arwen, the most ferocious storm, was the first of the storms to hit Scotland this winter. It was followed by storms Malik, Corrie, Dudley and Eunice, which affected the already weakened and vulnerable trees.

The forestry sector is working well through the extra volumes of timber that is now available and continues to co-ordinate the recovery of timber.

Andy Leitch, Deputy Chief Executive of forestry and wood industry body Confor, said:

"We welcome the very practical guidance note to support woodland owners to manage the recovery of timber from storm-damaged woodlands. This is new territory for many of those affected and it is important to provide them with clear, pragmatic advice - as part of a coordinated approach to the wider impact of the winter storms.

"As part of this package of support, Confor has published a list of member companies who are able to offer that advice."

Scottish Forestry has been deploying its staff to the areas most affected and is fast tracking necessary paperwork that is needed. Felling Permissions, which are needed for windblow, are being dealt with in around 14 days, instead of the usual six weeks.

The Forest Research agency has been supplying satellite based data to help the industry quantify how much timber has been affected.

Guidance has also been issued previously to help woodland owners make best use of quality hardwoods that have been brought down by the storms.