When you’re Central Scotland’s biggest forestry fencing contractor, you need the right fencing net for the job. That’s why Pitlochry-based Taiga Upland worked closely with its supplier Tornado to develop a forestry fencing product which is fast becoming the go-to in Scottish forestry.

TAIGA Upland was founded in 2007 (originally named Robertson Fencing) to deliver forestry and agricultural services, including ground preparation, fencing, groundwork, infrastructure and woodland creation.

The customer base comes from all over Scotland, but the focus is on woodland creation, hence the company name, which carries echoes not only of the Siberian taiga, but also of many upland areas of the Scottish Highlands.

Founder Rab Robertson said that the ability to offer not just fencing, but an entire project, is a particular USP which his company can offer. This means that Taiga Upland is called in by forestry managers at the very early stages of woodland creation projects, carrying new woodlands and replantings right the way through from conception to final project delivery.

This combination of services has proven to have great appeal to foresters, land managers, highland estates and agricultural businesses for all types of upland agroforestry projects. The company positions itself as woodland creation specialists, and some of its projects are on an impressive scale. A 10–12-kilometre run of fencing is not uncommon.

The company currently comprises a team of 25, who work out of purpose-built premises, located at Donavourd, Pitlochry, where the company has a central logistical base to serve customers throughout Scotland, as well as a centre for plant/material storage and sales.

Rab Robertson said: “Our experience and expertise of working in forestry establishment across Scotland enables us to offer a market-leading woodland creation service. It is the ability to combine our core in-house services that makes Taiga Upland the woodland creation specialists.”

Two years ago, Rab was involved in discussions with the company’s fencing supplier Tornado. The quality of Tornado products was well known to him at that time, as it had been a supplier from the start. Rab knew that Tornado’s expertise, and in particular its new product innovation, stems from the fact that the founders of the company had themselves originally been fencing contractors, so they have a particularly good insight into the needs of their contractor customer base.

Forestry Journal:

Rab wanted to discuss the development of an improved fencing net which would better suit his purposes and his needs as a large-scale upland fencing contractor. This was a dialogue that Tornado was only too happy to get involved with, as the fencing market leader has always believed that it can only be successful if its contractors are successful.

A traditional solution used in Scotland for deer exclusion has historically been two lines of stock fencing joined in the middle to make a 1.8 m fence. Installation of this type of fence is quite laborious because of the need to join the two lengths and the inherent vulnerability of the middle section. An alternative was a deer fence of 192 cm in height. Although viewed as the standard product for fencing in deer farms, this was unnecessarily high and heavy to work with in the forestry sector.

Tornado, with the help of Taiga Upland, adapted existing specs to come up with a new net, the R12/182/15. This is a full-height one-piece barrier, which is designed for the protection of areas of forestry from browsing deer. It is manufactured with 2.5 mm-high tensile galvanised steel wire which strains tighter than mild steel and so requires fewer intermediate posts, making it quicker to erect. It does not stretch with weathering, so does not need to be retightened annually. Solid vertical wires add strength and rigidity to the net.

It uses Tornado’s high-pressure-bonded, smooth Torus knot, with a continuous vertical stay wire. The Torus knot is unobtrusive but offers optimal strength, even in the most extreme environments. In addition to complying with the relevant British Standards (BSEN 10218, BSEN 10223 and BSEN 10244), this net also meets the Forestry Commission spec.

“This product was basically born out of the discussions between my company and Tornado,” said Rab Robertson, “and originally we were the only users of it. We found it to be much quicker to erect than any of the alternatives. Since it conforms to the Forestry Commission spec, it also attracts any grant funding that is available. We started using Tornado R12/182/15 two years ago. Since then, it has become very popular and is now increasingly becoming the industry standard in Scotland.”

Forestry Journal:

Given the current growth in the forestry sector in Scotland, it is likely even more of this product from Tornado will be seen being used across the country. The growth of Taiga Upland’s business and its concentration into forestry, rather than agricultural fencing, reflects strong growth in the sector generally. Recent grant funding programmes have been available to encourage farmers and landowners to shift from increasingly unprofitable hill farming into forestry. From a biodiversity point of view, funding has also tended to encourage the establishment of a good proportion of Caledonian pine and broadleaved woodland, complementing commercial softwood plantations.

“Our business is growing well,” added Rab Robertson. “Because of the all-round service that we offer to forestry owners, I can only see that continuing, particularly since we now have the best team, equipment and tools along with the best fencing net in the business.”

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