A SENIOR figure with three decades of experience in the industry is to move into one of Forestry and Land Scotland's top roles. 

Graeme Prest will become FLS' director of land management and regions next month, replacing the retiring Trefor Owen in the post. 

Since joining FLS in 2012 (then Forest Enterprise Scotland), Graeme has played a key part in overseeing the steep ground felling programme along the A82 and was one of the founders of the internationally recognised Cairngorms Connect partnership. 

Graeme, currently a district and regional manager, said: “One of the key things I have learned over the years is that good relationships and a strong network of stakeholders are vital if we are to do our work effectively.

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“I have enjoyed working with a fantastic group of people as Regional Manager and I am looking forward to now getting around the other four FLS Regions, our customers and other key stakeholders." 

Having graduated from Aberdeen University with an honours degree in Forestry, Graeme started his career with the Forestry Commission in the Highlands in 1990, working in both forest management and timber harvesting and marketing roles before moving to be forest district manager for the Lake District and subsequently forest management mirector leading a 100-strong team in North West England.

As well as leading on the sustainable management and improvement of the estate to deliver on multiple objectives, he was also involved in several partnership projects in the North West of England. This included the transformation of landfills and spoil tips, overseeing the creation of 1500 hectares (15 sites) of new community woodlands in Greater Manchester and Merseyside. 

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In 2012 Graeme then made the jump to Forest Enterprise Scotland, now Forestry and Land Scotland. He has been part of the development of the most technically challenging timber harvesting in Britain (FLS’ Steep Ground Felling Programme along the A82) and was one of the founders of the internationally recognised Cairngorms Connect partnership – the biggest habitat restoration project in Britain.

The Partnership secured almost £4 million of funding from the Endangered Landscapes Programme which is funded by Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin – one of only eight projects in Europe to benefit.

Forestry Journal: Graeme replaces Trefor Owen in the role Graeme replaces Trefor Owen in the role

He added: “I will be taking up the reins from Trefor Owen, who will soon be enjoying a well-earned retirement, and look forward to building on the strong foundations that his excellent work has established - both in terms of our core, sustainable land management and our leading role in Scotland’s response to the Climate and Biodiversity crisis.

“I'm looking forward to developing new partnerships and new approaches to making Scotland’s forests and land more resilient and further developing FLS’ reputation as the leading land management organisation in the country."