MORE people need to be encouraged to consider a career in forestry, a government minister has said. 

Mairi McAllan told delegates at the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) Conference the opportunity for the sector at this "crucial moment" is "immense", saying the Covid pandemic had focused minds on the value of the nation's forests.  

Speaking during this week's Glasgow event, Scotland's Environment Minister did, however, urge the industry to do more to reduce its "carbon footprint". 

Forestry Journal: Ms McAllan during her speech Ms McAllan during her speech

"We need to encourage more people to consider a career in forestry," she told attendees gathered at the city's Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons. "The pandemic has focused minds on the value of greenspace and likewise on the quality of our woodlands."

Referencing the importance of last year's COP26, also held in Glasgow, Ms McAllan said: "The opportunity for forestry is immense." 

Ms McAllan was one of a number of speakers during the two-day conference, which also saw the likes of Chris Stark, chief executive of the UK Climate Change Committee, PhD researcher Eilidh Forster and Harry Stevens, from BSW Timber, address around 150 people inside the college's hall. A similar number watched online, with the event being run in a hybrid format for the first time.

Topics included silviculture systems, climate smart plant supply and species selection. 

Ms McAllan added: "We need to work together. We need to ensure we are reducing the carbon footprint of the sector. We need to do more.

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"We need to plan very carefully what trees we plant and where.

"We must develop a 'values led' investment. 

READ MORE: Environment minister Mairi McAllan praises EGGER for 'vital' role in Scotland's net zero mission

"We produce around 7 m hectares of timber each year. That's enough to fill a train 1,000 miles long.

"It is a crucial moment for forests." 

Forestry Journal will have full coverage from the event in June's edition of the magazine and across our online and social media channels.