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Woody Rhododendron ponticum shades out ground vegetation.

How Scotland’s foresters are battling non-native invasive species

Monday, 20 May 2024

Invasive alien species are one of the main direct drivers of biodiversity loss worldwide. We’re making significant efforts to control invasive species across Scotland's national forests and land. As part of this, we’re tackling invasive plant species like Rhododendron ponticum, salal (Gaultheria shallon), and American skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus). We also support the efforts of...

A lush, mossy rainforest scene with dense tree cover.

Good news for Scotland's rainforest

Monday, 13 May 2024

We've beaten our in-house rainforest restoration target for 2023-24 by 141% thanks to an extraordinary effort by our teams.  This is only possible thanks to the dedication of our colleagues across the country who have worked incredibly hard to make it happen.  Scotland's rainforest is rich in biodiversity, including a unique selection of oceanic bryophytes (bryophyte is the collectiv...

A red harvesting machine cutting timber in a forest

The technology supporting our harvesting fleet

Tuesday, 07 May 2024

Harvesting timber is a key part of what we do, so we thought we'd share some of the clever technology used by our teams. One of the ways we fell timber is with harvesting machines that use sensors to measure the diameter of the tree. The machine grips the trunk of the tree using a grapple harvesting head, then cuts it at the stump with its internal chainsaw, before lifting it free from the grou...

An apple tree in a wooden enclosure

Rare species helping to restore native woodland

Thursday, 25 April 2024

Many don’t realise that Scotland is home to a native apple species, the wild apple (Malus sylvestris). Due to hybridisation, and historically being seen as unimportant the native wild apple is becoming an increasingly rare species. However, recently our teams worked with Highland Perthshire Community Land Trust as part of our partnership with the Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership to pla...

The 'Last Ent of Affric' is no longer alone

Thursday, 18 April 2024

An ancient elm tree that has stood alone in Glen Affric for hundreds of years is now the guardian over a new generation of its species. Known as the Last Ent of Affric in homage to the tree-shepherds from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the tree has been chosen to help in the fight against Dutch elm disease. Thirty-five young elm trees have been transferred from the Royal Botanic Garden Edin...

How we can help solitary bees

Thursday, 11 April 2024

Around 270 species of bees are found in the UK, with nearly 90% solitary species. Some that can be seen in Scotland include the red mason bee, common carder bee and the chocolate mining bee that burrows in soil. So why are these bees important and what can we do to help them?  Chocolate mining bee (Andrena scotica) With the signs of spring showing, many solitary bees have already bee...

A82 felling reaches toughest challenge yet

Thursday, 04 April 2024

We're reaching the steepest part of the A82 next week.  This is part of our steep ground felling programme on the hillside overlooking Loch Ness. The next phase of work, which will run from April until the end of June, will see large Douglas firs removed from a slope with a gradient of almost 90 per cent in places. Making it the most challenging phase of the project to date. Our Planning ...

Silhouette of two people flying a drone

How lasers, drones and real-time tracking are improving forestry

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Forestry is adapting — and it needs to! We face challenges ranging from extreme weather events and physically difficult operating conditions to invasive species and disease.    That’s why we’re always on the lookout for creative solutions to help us work better, like using lasers to map the land or drones to stabilise steep slopes.  Let’s take a look at a few of the e...

Steep-ground trees used in log cabin build

Wednesday, 13 March 2024

We recently provided logs the length of a double decker bus to a specialist carpenter for a full-scale log house.  The house is being constructed by Bedrock Buildings Ltd. and will be moved to a plot of land in Tomich where it will be rebuilt in early summer.   The finished structure will use a total of 52 massive, 100-year-old Douglas fir logs.  The logs were harvested by high...

A red harvester cutting pine trees

Dig deeper: revealing the ruins of Brunell Township

Thursday, 15 February 2024

The low stone walls and earthen banks of a post-medieval township were recently discovered in Glen Brittle Forest on the Isle of Skye during an environmental check ahead of harvesting. Likely dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, the township comprises a range of houses, byres, barns and corn-drying kilns. The buildings were located within a mature conifer plantation of predominantly Sitka spr...

Two children sit together, facing away in a lush forest.

Forest Therapy with CAMHS

Monday, 05 February 2024

5 to 11 February marks Children's Mental Health Week, an opportunity to start conversations and raise awareness. To mark this important week, we're taking a look at some of the work being done by our community rangers to support young people's mental health. Spending time outdoors can boost your mood, lower stress levels and improve overall mental (and physical) health. That’s why our community...

a blue tractor in a field

New technology coming to Newton Nursery

Thursday, 01 February 2024

Our nursery at Newton is a hub for innovation. We’re currently redesigning the nursery to modernise the infrastructure and ensure we can produce trees for our long-term planting goals. To make sure we’re working as efficiently as possible, our teams at Newton trial new methods and technologies every year. Some of this technology is based on existing agricultural machinery and is being adapted...

drone shot of a Carin in the forest in autumn

Dig deeper: the Bare Bones of Bargrennan Cairns

Monday, 22 January 2024

To celebrate our archaeological learning resource The Bare Bones being nominated in the Current Archaeology Awards 2024 ‘Research Project of the Year’ category, we thought that we would shine a light on another intriguing type of Neolithic chambered cairn – the Bargrennan cairn. Several of these cairns can be found on Scotland’s national forests and land, including the White Cairn in Gall...

a group of deer in a field

Wildlife management innovation challenge reaches next stage

Thursday, 18 January 2024

Our CivTech challenge to improve wildlife management has reached the next stage.  Earlier this year we asked for help to solve two problems we face with deer management. Unfortunately, we didn't get enough interest in one of the challenges but we are excited to move forward with challenge 9.3. This looks at how we can help wildlife rangers identify the exact location of every animal larger t...