MORE than 100 state foresters from across Europe visited Scotland last month to learn how Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is managing a host of forestry challenges.  

FLS hosted the annual European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) conference in Inverness and the Cairngorms with theme of the conference being “Working in Partnership at a Landscape Scale”.

The event showcased FLS work with Cairngorms National Park and other partners like the RSPB within the Cairngorms Connect landscape restoration project. The event also enabled professional foresters from across Europe to discuss responses to commonly faced challenges and to share best practice.  

READ MORE: Paperwork delays 'to blame for Scotland's planting slump'

With the conference themed on “Working in Partnership at a Landscape Scale”, the delegates visited Cairngorm Mountain, Glenmore Forest Park and the steep ground timber harvesting sites above the A82 trunk road and Loch Ness. 

Simon Hodgson, FLS chief executive, said: “Foresters across Europe are all facing the same sorts of challenges as we collectively grapple with the twin crisis of climate and biodiversity and with taking the steps required to protect and enhance forests, no matter where they are.  

“Our guests were very interested to find out about our partnership approach to working at the landscape scale.  

“Fire management was a very topical focus for some of the discussions about the practical aspects of forestry but there was also keen interest in many other aspects of successful and sustainable forest management in Scotland, such as deer management and recreational access.  

Forestry Journal: The visiting foresters visited several Scottish sites The visiting foresters visited several Scottish sites (Image: FLS)

“Over the course of two days delegates not only learned a lot about how FLS is rising to the challenges of modern forestry but they also contributed their own knowledge and expertise which FLS staff can now use in their work going forward.” 

EUSTAFOR members come from 26 European countries and represent public organisations that manage public land and forests with  sustainable forest management and sustainable wood production as their principle activities.