THE Scottish Land Commission has awarded an Inverness-based student a £1,000 grant to compare Scotland’s approach to community-owned woodlands with municipally owned examples found in other European countries.

Heloise Le Moal, 26, a forest management student at the University of the Highlands and Islands, will travel to France, Belgium and Switzerland as part of her research project. She will consider the municipal approaches to forestry ownership and management in these countries and compare them to the community woodlands that are here in Scotland.

Heloise will research the historical development of these woodlands, how they are managed, what for and who benefits from them. She will also assess how non-private forestry connects to climate targets.

Heloise is the first recipient of the Commission’s national student award, which is open to any student studying at a Scottish academic institution to undertake a land-reform-related piece of research. Research underpins the Commission’s work so that decisions and recommendations are thoroughly evidence-based, and the organisation uses a wide academic network to provide research on key land reform issues.

Hamish Trench, CEO of the Scottish Land Commission, said: “Heloise’s research connects to some very current issues for land reform in Scotland. Her research will add to our increasing number of international case studies that help us to stimulate new ways of thinking about land ownership and use.”

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