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Patron: Her Majesty the Queen


The Royal Scottish Society of Arts
Showcasing Scotland's Science, Technology and Innovation

6th Meeting of the 184th Session (2004-2005)

Conifers and Conservation:
Transforming Scotland's Conifer Plantations into Diverse Forests

Syd House
Conservator for the Perth & Argyll Conservancy
Forestry Commission Scotland

In the Wolfson Suite, Ground Floor
Edinburgh University Library
George Square, Edinburgh
On Monday 25th April 2005, at 7 pm

Despite the legend of the great Caledonian Forest, Scotland as a country was broadly denuded of trees by the Middle Ages. At the start of the 20th century only 4% of the country was woodland, a figure amongst the lowest in Europe. Since then extensive planting with introduced conifers has resulted in a quadrupling of tree cover by the end of the 20th century - and a major impact on Scotland's scenery and wildlife. Afforestation on such a scale has not been without controversy and foresters have faced criticism of their work.

At the start of the 21st century how have these forests evolved and how are they now managed to meet today's demands for environmental best practice and sustainable land use? This talk will describe Scotland's forests today and the way they are evolving into diverse woodlands, delivering a variety of public benefits.

It will touch briefly on the historical factors involved, looking at the remnants of ancient semi-natural woodland - the tradition of planting by the Scots' Lairds - the founding of the Forestry Commission in 1919 - establishing the great conifer plantations of the 20th century - restoration of broad-leaved and native woods - "the widening scope of forestry policy after 1988 - the development of forests and woods - the woodland as a wildlife habitat - current initiatives on woodland habitat restoration and biodiversity" and the future.

Syd House is the Conservator for the Perth & Argyll Conservancy of the Forestry Commission Scotland. He has an overview of all forestry activity in that area which covers about a fifth of Scotland.

Location of meeting

Society Business

The President, Dr Stuart Monro, will be in the Chair

Members of the Public are welcome to attend

Jane Ridder-Patrick, Secretary

The Royal Scottish Society of Arts is Registered Scottish Charity SC015549

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