Harvesting in the heart of the Highlands

Tilhill Graduate Blog by Kinsey Aikman, Assistant Harvesting Manager, North Highlands

The rolling hills and stunning vistas of the Highlands of Scotland are renowned the world over for their beauty and grandeur. But there is more to these mountains than just their natural splendour.

The Highlands are home to a thriving timber industry, one that plays a crucial role in the sustainable management of Scotland’s forests and in the fight against climate change.

A Robust Timber Industry

At first glance, it might seem strange that the Highlands, with their rugged terrain and often-harsh weather, would be home to a robust timber industry. But in fact, the region’s forests are among the most productive in Europe, providing a steady supply of high-quality timber for use in a variety of applications.

The importance of this industry cannot be overstated. Not only does it provide our most sustainable building materials, but also jobs and economic opportunity for local communities. It also contributes to the global effort to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

Reaching Net Zero

Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, making them a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. By harvesting trees sustainably and using the wood for products like construction materials and biofuels, we can keep carbon locked up in the wood for years to come.

This is especially important in the context of Scotland’s ambitious climate goals, which aim to reduce emissions to net zero by 2045.

Harvesting with Care

Of course, timber harvesting in the Highlands must be done carefully and thoughtfully, to ensure that the forests are not damaged or depleted.

We, as harvesting managers, are subject to strict regulations and oversight, designed to balance the economic benefits of timber harvesting with the need to protect the environment and wildlife as well as preserve the natural beauty of the Highlands.

A Thriving Timber Industry

Despite the challenges of working in such a remote and rugged environment, the timber industry in the Highlands has thrived, providing employment and economic opportunity for generations.

Forests cover around 18% of Scotland’s land area, with the majority located in the Highlands. Timber harvesting provides a vital source of income for many rural communities in the region, with approximately 9,000 jobs supported by the forestry sector.

As we continue to grapple with the urgent threat of climate change, the work done by Tilhill’s managers in the forests of Scotland is more important than ever.

So next time you join the throngs of tourists visiting the area, gazing out at the majestic lochs and rolling hills, take a moment to appreciate the vital role that timber harvesting plays in sustaining this remarkable landscape, and in building a better, more sustainable future for all of us.