A new project aims to tackle what the forestry industry regards as one of the most serious threats to newly planted trees.

The large pine weevil, Hylobius abietis, can cause fatal damage to young trees.
Chemical pesticides are used to control the insect, but Forestry Enterprise Scotland hopes to find alternative methods of dealing with the pest.

Funding of £550,000 has been provided to the project.

Forestry Enterprise Scotland is working on the initiative with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The pine weevil is a serious threat to the economic, social and environmental benefits that forestry provides.

“Each year, it is estimated to cause direct losses of around £5 m across the UK and to significantly delay the re-establishment of future forest crops.”

He added: “We need to develop further innovative and successful solutions to tackle this serious pest of young trees.

“This project being run by Forest Enterprise Scotland has the potential to significantly improve the sustainable management of woodland in Scotland.”