Between 1960 and 2000, many hardworking, poorly-paid people planted millions of trees across rural Scotland. In that short time, they increased the growing woodlands and forests in Scotland from 6% to 17% of the land area – a phenomenal achievement considering the wet and windy weather, difficult peaty or rocky soils and the steep slopes usually involved.
We are reaping the rewards of this work in the form of large Forest Parks used by hundreds of thousands of people for outdoor recreation each year; new and changing habitats for plants and animals which these varied forests provide; development of new skills, industries, and employment in processing the harvested trees; and the products which we all use daily. A few examples are: paper, packaging and particle board; electricity and heating; construction; fencing.
With members of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society I recently visited the Glennon Bros. timber mill at Troon, Ayrshire, which takes in more than 120 timber lorry-loads of harvested Sitka spruce daily. And more is brought in from Scottish island and coastal forests on two barges adapted for loading timber directly off a beach.
Out of the Troon mill come ready-made roof trusses and foundations for Scottish houses, planks, chips, bark, sawdust.