FLS consults on Draft Communities Strategy
Forestry and Land Scotland is inviting feedback from people across Scotland on how to further grow its work with communities across the country and make best use of Scotland's national forest and land.
FLS engages communities on decisions about how it manages the national forests through its land management plans and in a wide range of projects and activities – from staging events or facilitating community volunteering, to developing community renewables schemes or leasing or selling land through its pioneering Community Asset Transfer Scheme.
FLS is now looking for feedback on how to increase the levels of community involvement to help deliver the objectives of local communities alongside its own.
In launching the consultation, Environment and Land Reform Minister, Mairi McAllan, said;
“As Scotland’s largest land manager FLS makes a unique contribution towards biodiversity restoration and towards achieving Net Zero. But it also has a unique relationship with the many communities that live and work in and around Scotland’s national forests and land, as well as the many communities who use this important natural resource.
“FLS is now looking to build on its track record and help ensure more people engage with their work and help shape the forests and land around them.
“This is a great opportunity for people to comment on what is working well, what can be done better and what challenges and barriers need to be overcome so that more communities’ ambitions can be realised.”
Examples of community projects from around the country include:
- Central Scotland - the West Fife Woodlands Group, whose aim is to conserve and improve accessibility to their local woodland for example creating the West Fife Woodlands Way which runs through Balgownie and Devilla Forests.
- Perthshire - the Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park Users' Group - which represents woodland users from horse riders to orienteering groups, to walkers, cyclists, photographers and nature lovers - carries out community activities such as core path planning and practical volunteer tasks such as scrub clearance, tree planting and red squirrel conservation
- Wick - the Friends of Newtonhill Woodland have, amongst other things, improved recreational access by developing a new path network and refurbished an old croft for use as a base for a volunteer program which takes place in the surrounding Newtonhill Woodland.
- Banchory – the Banchory Paths group of volunteers maintain and improve paths in the town and surrounding woodlands, for example raising funding to upgrade the paths in Corsee Wood to improve access for all.
- Kilsture Forest near Sorbie – the Kilsture Forest Community Group volunteers organise community walks and talks, wildlife conservation and work with FLS to improve the paths.
- Morvern - the Barr River hydro scheme, developed by the Morvern Community Development Company, provides renewable energy and a source of income for the community to help deliver community objectives for affordable housing, employment and improving infrastructure.
The Communities Strategy will sit alongside FLS’ Visitor Services Strategy, and will focus on how communities can get more involved in the decisions, management and use of the national forests and land.
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.