Forest industries working together to recover from Storm Arwen

The forestry sector in the south of Scotland and north of England are joining forces to tackle the aftermath of Storm Arwen.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 17th January 2022, 12:13 pm
Damage to trees caused by Storm Arwen. Pic: Forestry and Land Scotland
Damage to trees caused by Storm Arwen. Pic: Forestry and Land Scotland

The vicious storm winds brought down vast swathes in trees across the Scottish Borders, Galloway and into northern England.

Work is currently being undertaken to get an accurate picture of the volume of timber that might have been blown down.

Scottish Forestry, the Forestry Commission and Confor have brought together representatives from the private forestry sector and local councils so that the industry can work on a strategic approach to manage the fallen trees and minimise the loss of timber.

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Doug Howieson, Scottish Forestry’s Head of Operational Delivery said: “Storm Arwen was a reminder of just how ferocious Mother Nature can be. Many forests and woodlands in the south of Scotland suffered significant windblow.

“There is a major challenge now to co-ordinate the recovery of this huge amount of fallen wood so that it can get to market. It may take over a year to manage the current quantities of timber that is currently lying on the forest floor.

“Our role is to get the forestry owners together so that they can take a strategic and collective view and co-ordinate activity to manage the aftermath of Storm Arwen in a safe and timely manner.”

Although around 1500ha of forests have been affected in south Scotland, and 1400ha in the north of England, these areas will be replanted.

It may take a generation for the forests and woodlands to be restored as before. Foresters are keen to turn this into a positive opportunity to plant new species, making these forests more resilient for the future.

The forest industries are using a new Storm Arwen Mapping tool, developed by Forest Research and Scottish Forestry, to help them locate and plan how to remove the windblow.

With an expected increase in haulage needed to cope with the extra timber available , the forestry industry will work collectively to minimise the impacts of lorries on rural communities.

Woodland owners are being advised not to rush to harvest areas until they have a market agreed for their timber.