Forestry Feels Good

Following on from Alex’s blog about the arrival of Spring in Southern England, I am pleased to report that we have seen the sun in Scotland too! After a long, cold winter it feels amazing to be out in the woods with the warm sun on my face.

This is one of the reasons why Forestry Feels Good, and was one of the influencing factors in my decision to pursue a career in forestry. It is great to have the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy being out in the sunshine, taking in fantastic views and getting some exercise (whilst working of course!). However, Scotland doesn’t always offer wall to wall sunshine, and thankfully Tilhill Forestry provides a good selection of waterproof clothing and boots to keep me dry!

Helping to meet the UK Governments climate change target of 100,000 hectares of new woodland by 2022 is another reason why Forestry Feels Good. Seeking out Woodland Creation Projects has become a larger part of the Foresters role in recent years, largely due to the generous government funding available for planting new woodland. Being an integral part of a team implementing two new planting schemes in the past year has been a fantastic opportunity for me to help push this target forward in the Scottish Borders.

As part of the pre-application work for these schemes we carried out work on the ground to identify the suitability of the sites, i.e., looking at soil type, vegetation and historical and environmental constraints. This data is then used to inform planting designs and species choice and ensures that we are establishing woodland in the most suitable locations. This means protecting species, habitat types and water in the vicinity of these schemes. A good example of this, at one of the schemes we are in the process of delivering, is the adjustment in plantable area to accommodate a butterfly colony, rare flowering plants and to protect the integrity of an area of deep peat higher up the hill. Although it can be challenging at times, it definitely feels good to protect and enhance the environment as part of my job!

Another way we as Foresters enhance our woodlands is by managing to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) and UK Forestry Standard (UKFS). These certification bodies help us to deliver home grown sustainable timber to a number of different markets including the construction industry, paper, pallet and fencing to name a few.

These standards outline a number of different ways in which the management of the forest can enhance the biodiversity of the woodland, and at the same time deliver a viable commercial forest with the main objective being timber production. Forestry Feels Good when we enhance the environment and deliver sustainable products for use in UK markets.

Forestry is a very forward thinking industry, and is regulated very effectively. This combined with the outdoor lifestyle and great people makes it a fantastic place to be right now. Forestry definitely Feels Good!

Byron Braithwaite
Forest Manager