Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, accompanied the Minister on the visit along with Confor Policy Officer Maria Bellissimo and Scottish Woodlands staff. He said: “The Scottish Government has been a strong supporter of forestry in recent years and it was a pleasure to be able to show the minister a modern, mixed-species, multi-purpose planting site. We need to keep planting productive forests to secure future timber supply - to support our domestic forestry and wood processing industry but also to take responsibility for growing more of our own wood.
“With global timber demand rising rapidly and increasing demand at home for wood to build low-carbon, high-quality homes, we need to plant now to provide the wood we’ll need in the coming decades. By doing that to the highest modern forest standards, we also make a massive contribution to Scotland’s climate change ambitions, support biodiversity and offer great places for people to enjoy.”
Ralland Browne, Managing Director of Scottish Woodlands Ltd, also attended the visit with site managers Jillian Kennedy and Maaike Felstead and Forestry Director Ian Robinson. Mr Browne said: “Knowes & Keltie is a great example of modern forestry - a multi-purpose and mixed-species forest which delivers significant benefits for Scotland, and jobs and access for local people.”
In terms of climate change mitigation, Knowes & Keltie is expected to provide a 3,150-tonne annual benefit in terms of carbon dioxide capture and storage.
The scheme also promotes public access and enjoyment by linking forest roads and tracks to an existing network of core paths - particularly suitable for mountain bikers and walkers.
Further planting is now happening on a smaller adjacent site called Kippen. This will create a diverse woodland on an 85-hectare site, based around oak and Douglas fir.