Shetland: Demand for trees growing in the Scottish archipelago

The increased interest in trees in Shetland is believed to have been largely due to enthusiasts such as crofter Andrew Hall promoting his success in incorporating trees into his crofting business.

In response to increased interest in planting, the Shetland Amenity Trust’s nursery in Lerwick is expanding production with the help of a £9,500 Scottish forestry grant.

There has also been proactive advisory work to support tree planting, backed by attractive forestry grant schemes run by Scottish Forestry and Woodland Trust Scotland.

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On a recent visit to Lerwick Nursery, Scottish Forestry’s Jonathan Hawick heard how tree production there will increase from 18,000 to 45,000 by next year.

He said: “We are delighted with the growing interest in tree planting and this nursery plays a vital role in providing suitable, well adapted trees to the people of Shetland.

“The Trust is doing an excellent job of seed collection, including from the few remaining native forests in Shetland, and cultivation.

HeraldScotland: Jonathan Hawick from Scottish Forestry and Georgia Smith from Shetland Amenity Trust at the nurseryJonathan Hawick from Scottish Forestry and Georgia Smith from Shetland Amenity Trust at the nursery (Image: Forestry Scotland)

“If we are to meet our Scottish Government’s target for expanding forests, we all need to play our part, including those in the North and West Isles.

“Crofters here face many challenges and we have a specific funding option to help them which is the highest in Scotland. With these additional trees from the nursery and with the support available, we aim to help three or four new forests a year through our grant program.”

The main interest for planting trees is for livestock shelters and amenities, but also to increase Shetland’s biodiversity.

Shetland Amenity Trust actively supports interested parties in developing their plans and has worked closely with many people over the years to support tree planting.

It has collected seeds from places like the steep-sided Burn of Valayre for planting in other woodlands in Shetland. These ancient sites are remnants of Scotland’s original woodland and part of the Atlantic Forest.

Woodland Trust Scotland has contributed £5,000 towards the nursery expansion.

Woodland Trust Croft Forest Adviser Gordon Cumming said: “The enthusiasm for creating forests in Shetland is truly inspiring. Judging by the number of requests we have for farm visits, there will be a strong demand for locally grown trees and the expansion of the nursery will be critical to conducting future programs. Great job by the Trust team in driving this successful initiative forward.” Shetland: Demand for trees growing in the Scottish archipelago

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