Forest industry bodies untie to asses impact of Storm Arwen

Scottish Forestry is working with Confor and Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) to fully assess the impact that Storm Arwen has had on the country’s forests and woodlands.

Meetings have already taken place between the organisations to start planning the recovery of at least 4,000ha of woodland that have been affected by the storm.

A new mapping tool, developed by Forest Research and Scottish Forestry, will be invaluable in the recovery process.

For the first time, woodland managers will be able to use the satellite data to get an initial understanding of where the damage has occurred, without the immediate need for extensive and potentially risky site visits.

The most intensive damage to Scotland’s woodlands runs down the east coast, across the Borders and East Lothian, stretching into Galloway. Another swathe of damage runs through Banffshire, Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire, Angus and into Perthshire.

‘The challenge of climate change’

Environment Minister Màiri McAllan said:

“Storm Arwen provided a salutary lesson of the power of nature and the challenge of climate change. Our people suffered and so, too, did our natural environment.

The impact is evident in the distressing images of flattened forests and woodlands which will take decades, if not centuries to recover from.

“Their loss reminds us of the significant role trees play in our lives, communities, economy and wellbeing.

“Behind this is a monumental clear up operation which is being undertaken by large and small woodland owners.

“Whilst this is being carried out, the message to the public is not to enter into affected forests until they are made safe.

“Forestry might be a long term business, but getting to grips with managing the windblown timber has already begun.

“As more accurate information becomes available, Scotland’s forest industry will be taking decisions on handling the extra volumes of timber that needs to be harvested.