A new woodland tenancy which gives opportunity to new entrants in the Scottish forestry sector has been created.
This form of forest tenure has been established in Galloway and is the first of its type in Scotland.
Mark Rowe has become the first holder of a woodlot licence issued under the auspices of the Scottish Woodlot Association, on the Corsewall Estate near Stranraer, Wigtownshire. Mark, 32, runs a forestry consultancy and mobile sawmill business and has broad experience in rural land management.
The woodlot licence covers 37ha of mixed woodland on the estate and initially will be an 18 month pilot to establish the concept, though all parties are committed to a longer term agreement following the first phase.
Under the terms of the licence Mark will be responsible for managing the woodlot according to a management plan agreed with the landowner, Angus Carrick-Buchanan. This will include felling and extracting timber, which he will then be allowed to process and sell himself, as firewood and sawn timber. In return Mark will pay an annual rental for the woodlot.
The concept of woodlot licences has been inspired by the situation in British Columbia (BC) where the Provincial Government has been running a highly successful woodlot licence programme on Crown (government) land for over 30 years. There, they are seen as an important part of a diverse forestry sector, delivering particular local and community benefits, and as such are being actively promoted and expanded by the Government of BC.
The Scottish Woodlot Association (SWA) has been established to take forward the concept in Scotland. The SWA hope in time that woodlot licence tenure will become an important 'family forestry' model in a more diverse Scottish forestry sector.
Angus Carrick-Buchanan, owner of Corsewall Estates and Scottish Land & Estates South West Committee member said, "There are tens of thousands of acres of unmanaged woodland across Scotland's farms, estates and local authorities. This pilot project with the Scottish Woodlot Association sets out to prove that the woodlot licence holder, the woodland owner, the environment and the local economy can all win. We are not reinventing the wheel. It has been tried and tested in British Columbia for decades. The rise in timber prices, demand for firewood and an increasing awareness of the economic value of previously abandoned woodland on farms and estates will ensure that the SWA has a great future."