Commemorative tree planting planned for Pollok Park

As part of events to mark the centenary of public forestry in Scotland, Glasgow’s Pollok Park will early next year see a commemorative planting of trees in honour of the 6,000 Commonwealth foresters who helped sustain the British war effort in WWII.

Rural Affairs Secretary, Fergus Ewing, made the announcement during a debate in Parliament today, celebrating the centenary of the 1919 Forestry Act.

The new planting, which will be carried out in partnership with Glasgow City Council and stakeholders, delivers on a commitment made in the Programme for Government to honour the Commonwealth foresters, a gesture that was signalled to the High Commissioner of Belize earlier this year.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Ewing said;

“That first Forestry Act was instrumental in establishing public forestry and marked a turning point for Scotland’s forests,  but the contribution of the Commonwealth Foresters undoubtedly helped to secure the future of forestry in Scotland at a particularly challenging time.

“By managing our forests and sustaining the war effort, they reminded everyone of the key role that timber and forests played in defending a way of life.

“I think it is incredibly poignant that a century on from that 1919 Act, and generations after those Commonwealth foresters were living and working here, Scotland is leading the UK in promoting forests and woodlands as one of the most important ways of combating the global climate emergency.

“There is also very pleasing symmetry in the fact that Pollok Park, before it was gifted to the people of Glasgow, was owned by Sir John Stirling Maxwell, who played a significant role in the early years of the Forestry Commission.

“This is a truly fitting  way for us to remember and commemorate those Commonwealth foresters and all those who have contributed over the last 100 years  to growing Scotland’s fantastic woods and forests that we enjoy today.””

The details of the planting, which is anticipated to happen early in 2020 are currently being discussed with Glasgow City Council.

Councillor Anna Richardson, Glasgow City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said;

”Pollok Country Park has long been cherished by the people of Glasgow as a woodland retreat within the city.

“Sir John Stirling Maxwell was a key figure in the early days of the Forestry Commission and so it is entirely fitting that the centenary celebrations of the Forestry Act are marked by a tree planting event in Pollok Country Park.

“With the Burrell Collection due to reopen in 2021 there is a renewed interest in the park’s unique heritage, natural environment and rich range of attractions.

“There is currently a wide ranging discussion underway with stakeholders and local communities on how to improve the care and management of the park’s many assets in the years ahead.

“The stewardship of the park’s woodland is central to that conversation and we hope the centenary event will provide added focus to the importance of tree planting to the city, especially in the context of the climate emergency.”