Question: Please use this space to provide any other comments you think are relevant to the Corporate Plan.
A wide range of comments were received in relation to this section, many of which reflect issues already raised. They are summarised below.
- Geographical context and issues: Several people provided extremely detailed information about their particular geographic areas and the issues in that area, such as the local environment and biodiversity; provision of shelter for other species; the potential for forestry on island environments; and the interaction of forestry with other industries.
- Public access, amenity and benefits: The importance of forestry to meet health and wellbeing outcomes and enhancing a person’s life chances was highlighted. The need to work in partnership with others to extend the social forestry programme was emphasised, enabling public access, and creating opportunities for active recreation.
- Effective carbon sequestration: The need for forests to be planted and managed in a way which maximise carbon sequestration was raised, ensuring the best decisions are made for the particular environmental setting forests, especially in peat or boglands.
- Other land use interests: The interests of other land uses must be taken into account. Specific examples raised included protecting historic, heritage and archaeological assets; and managing forests to protect freshwater courses. It was also suggested that standards be developed which cover and link with broader land uses.
- Sustainability: Different aspects of the theme of sustainability was raised, including the need for a whole ecosystem approach to be taken; decision making to take into account a biodiversity assessment; planting more native woodlands; and addressing climate change. Partnership working and linking with other policies is vital.
- Presentation of plan: It was felt that the Corporate Plan needs to be more vibrant, get people excited, and should be easy to read. The wording used should be updated to reflect current political rhetoric and language used within different sectors – for example, refer to ‘nature’ not ‘environment’; reference the climate ‘emergency’; and set climate change issues alongside the ecological crisis.
- Issues facing forestry: Scottish Forestry is seen as an industry leader, and must work with others to address industry wide issues- such as attracting young people to work in the field; introducing new technology; and assisting in the transition post-Brexit. Scottish Forestry must also lead the way in reducing its organisational impact in terms of emissions, and assessing and reducing the whole life-cycle impact of forestry.
- Urban forestry: Urban forestry must be invested in. Long term management of urban forestry has been affected by cutbacks to Local Authorities, leading to issues such as increasing tree disease, and trees growing to unacceptable heights. One suggestion was made that Christmas trees be planted rather than bought in to urban areas.
- Effective systems and processes: The need for effective systems and processes was highlighted, including the efficient administration of the grants scheme and a robust, public complaints procedure.