STATE forestry organisations from Latvia, Barbados and Australia have all expressed an interest in learning more about some pioneering solutions being developed to try and improve the yield from Scotland’s existing seed stock.

Meeting the challenges of growing more young trees from seed will help Scotland meet its ambition of ceasing to contribute to global climate change by achieving the Scottish Government target of net zero emissions by 2045.

Growing more young trees will also help ensure security of future timber supply for Scotland’s £1 billion forestry industry and will help to sustain forestry’s contribution to the wider economy.

However, currently around one third of tree seeds collected go on to produce young trees, with many seeds lost to predation, weed competition, drought or simply a failure to germinate.

Josh Roberts, innovation manager for Forestry and Land Scotland, said: “Getting the highest possible yield from tree seed is going to be hugely important if we are to see forestry deliver all that it can - economically and environmentally - in years to come.

“Through the Scottish Government’s CivTech 4.0 Innovation Challenge 2019, we invited individuals, businesses, universities and stakeholders to think of ways of growing more young trees from seed.

“The five most promising ideas featured at a showcase event early in March this year and even at this early stage, the level of international interest was amazing.”

As well as strong expressions of interest from a Latvian delegate, the technologies being developed were identified as being of potential value in helping water-stressed Barbados reach its target of planting one million additional trees, and in helping the state of Victoria in Australia to quickly and effectively regenerate the ecosystem that has been devastated by wildfires.

Josh added: “It’s really great to know that the work that we are doing in Scotland is increasingly being recognised overseas and that more of our international colleagues are taking note of our approach to maximising the benefits that forestry can deliver.”

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