Arran forest redesign
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is inviting Arran residents to take part in the development of the Merkland Land Management Plan.
The 681ha productive forest lies just to the north of Brodick and is prominent in the iconic view of Goatfell as the Calmac ferry approaches Arran and from the Brodick seafront.
Although it sets out a ten-year plan for the site (with a more general indication of plans for the ten years after that) a substantial part of the Merkland Land Management Plan (LMP) is concerned with the removal of larch trees affected by or at risk from tree disease Phytophthora ramorum.
Andy Walker, FLS forester on Arran, said;
“Merkland is a mixed conifer plantation that is associated with the designed landscape of Brodick Castle and is important for biodiversity and for recreation. It’s also important for timber production.
“Unfortunately, Phytophthora ramorum is now widespread and we will need to carry out major felling of larch over the next five years. It will have a huge impact on the forest but will ultimately improve the health of the trees and the woodland overall.
“However, the substantial work that we have to do also gives us an opportunity to redesign the forest to make it more resilient in years to come, but also to enhance its visual amenity in the landscape and for local people and visitors, and also allow us to continue with sustainable timber production.
“We would like to hear the view of local residents so would invite anyone interested to look over the plans that are online and give us feedback on them at their leisure.”
The online consultation will remain open until 5th December 2021. A further consultation will take place next year once initial feedback is assessed and firm proposals for the site are drawn up.
Notes to editors
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.