Major Forestry Conference in Scotland

CONFOR is organising a major conference to highlight the huge contribution of forestry in Scotland ahead of May's Holyrood elections.

Forestry and Timber: Scotland's Hidden Success Story aims to build on the wide-ranging coverage of the FCS report in late 2015 showing the sector is now worth £1 billion in Scotland, and that job numbers increased significantly through the recession.

"The very positive figures in the report came as no surprise to those of us in the industry, but they were a wake-up call for many others in terms of how much the forestry and timber sector can achieve," said Confor Chief Executive Stuart Goodall. "For many policy-makers in Scotland, forestry is a hidden success story - and it's time we shouted more loudly about its enormous contribution to the economy, the environment and to people's lives. 

"This event is a timely opportunity to showcase the sector, its achievements to date and its potential to do much more. Our 2014 event with Scotsman Conferences was excellent and we believe this one can be even better."

Expert speakers from across the sector will address a range of major issues and the event will conclude with a political panel discussion. Topics for discussion include:

  • What more can be done to sustain rural forestry and timber jobs and develop and extend supply chains?
  • How do we ensure planting targets are met to maximise economic and environmental benefit?
  • What role can tree-planting play in mitigating flood risks?
  • How do we encourage innovation and maximise value in the use of timber?
  • How can we ensure a skilled and diverse future workforce?         
  • What is the future of the Forestry Commission?

Confirmed speakers include: Jo O'Hara, Head of Forestry Commission Scotland; Prof Sean Smith, Director  of the Institute for Sustainable Construction at Edinburgh Napier University; Fergus Tickell, Argyll Timber Transport Group; and Amanda Bryan, forestry consultant and current chair of FCS.

Mr Goodall, who will also speak, added: "We have a tremendous range of expert speakers and will examine all important current issues, including forestry and flooding, timber transport and the future shape of the Forestry Commission.

"It was great to see Nicola Sturgeon confirm the commitment to plant 100,000ha of woodland in the decade to 2022 and this event is an opportunity to discuss how we can all co-operate to ensure that target is achieved."

Mr Goodall also thanked event sponsors Bidwells, Scottish Woodlands and Tilhill, saying: "It is tremendous that successful forestry businesses recognise the importance of these high-level discussions, which bring together people from across our sector and beyond - to take the message to politicians that forestry and timber is delivering for Scotland and can continue to do so, with the appropriate level of understanding and support."

The event is on Tuesday March 22nd at the National Galleries of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh. Registration is from 830am for a 9am start, with a finish around 2pm. Confor has negotiated a special £49 rate for members (full price £120). Details of the event, which will be regularly updated, can be found here

Places are limited, so register your interest quickly. Contact Liz Hughson - or 0131 240 1412.