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Forestry and Land Scotland’s team at the Newton Tree Nursery (near Elgin) have caught up with their lockdown-delayed work and completed their seed sowing operations that will ensure a supply of future trees.

When the Nursery closed at the beginning of lockdown, there were real concerns over the long-term impact on tree supply, on Scotland’s £1 billion forestry sector and consequently on Scotland’s tree planting efforts to address the Climate Emergency.

However, with lockdown restrictions eased and forestry getting back to work, FLS’s Newton team, has gone the extra mile – and more – to catch up.

Alan Duncan, Head of Plant & Seed Supply for FLS, said; 

“In a normal year, the Newton Nursery team’s work produces about 7 million seedlings. With the arrival of lockdown we initially feared that all of that might be lost as the annual seasonal window for sowing seed it very short.

“When they were able to get back to work, the team put in a Herculean effort and not only got our tree nursery operations restarted in difficult circumstances but also completed the programme in such a compressed period of time.  

“They all went the extra mile - working longer days and weekends - to ensure there would not be significant downstream impacts on our tree planting programmes and the people who depend on that work. 

“It has been a fantastic and much appreciated team effort.”

The Newton team were amongst the first FLS outdoor staff to resume work and benefited from the introduction of new risk assessment processes, safe working practices and bespoke “back to work” FLS training covering the COVID-19 context.  

The seeds sown at Newton are the trees of the future – stock that will be urgently required in years to come as forestry resumes its climate emergency planting


Notes to editors

  1. 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.

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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 0131 370 5059 or


Back row (left to right)Richard StockdaleAlan BeggPaul Ettles Middle row (left to right)Torsten EckardtGeorge Renton Front rowAleksandra Malesz