Central Scotland Forest Trust and partners have released a revised Central Scotland Forest strategy. This highlights what has been achieved since the first strategy was launched in 1995 and sets out some ambitious targets for the future. Woodland cover, which stood at 11% at the start of the Forest’s development, now stands at 18% against the original target of 22%. The strategy review has provided the opportunity to define the role of the Forest in the context of the Central Scotland Green Network and to underline its importance in improving the quality of life in a historically degraded part of Scotland.
Amongst the key objectives set out in the Strategy are:
Woodland Expansion and Management
With increasingly sophisticated analytical tools and a renewed push on woodland creation, this latest Strategy increases the ambition for woodland cover from 22% to around 24% over the next few decades. This will include a mix of woodland types including productive forests, native and mixed woodlands.
A Forest for Investment
It is the intention of the CSF Strategy partners that the Forest makes a real contribution to the local and regional economy, through creating a high quality environment which attracts and retains businesses and skilled workers. The Strategy sets out aims for creating productive woodlands by supporting timber processing in order to maximise the local economic benefits from timber production.
A Forest For People
As the Forest matures, benefits for local people, workers and visitors will increase, further strengthening the sense of place. The development of a network of paths and trails, linked to new and improved woodlands and greenspaces, together with the creation of new opportunities for natural and active play, will help reconnect people with the environment on their doorsteps, improving their quality of life, health and well-being. The Forest will continue to provide volunteering, training and employment opportunities in order to tackle unemployment. Local people will be encouraged to increase their involvement in the Forest, with the creation of new community woodlands, greenspaces, growing projects, events and cultural activities.
A Forest Fit for the Future
The Strategy highlights how the Forest will play an increasingly important role in helping to mitigate and adapt to climate change. By supporting further woodland expansion, and facilitating a range of renewable energy technologies, the Forest will continue to contribute to Scotland’s low carbon future. It will also help the area adapt to climate change by supporting sustainable flood management schemes, developing integrated habitat networks, and preparing for changing temperatures and rainfall patterns. The Strategy prioritises conservation and enhancement of the Forest’s landscapes, its biodiversity and historic environment.
A copy of the CSF Strategy can be found on the CSF website.