OVER 200,000 visitors passed through the gates of last month’s Royal Highland Show – and the forestry sector pulled out all the stops to make sure they were entertained and informed.

Forestry Journal was among the contingent exhibiting this year with a stand directly opposite the Forestry Arena – ideal for catching all the action.

The home of the 80-ft pole-climbing competition, the arena is always a big draw with the public, and this year was no exception.

Forestry Journal: Over 200,000 visitors passed through the gates.Over 200,000 visitors passed through the gates. (Image: FJ)

The climbing, lumberjack relays, axe throwing, mountain biking displays and chainsaw carving all kept the crowds entertained, while a range of machinery demos offered insight into how timber is harvested and processed.

A Ponsse Elephant was shown working across the four days, as was a Först TR8D 8” tracked woodchipper, a Uniforest Titan 53/40 firewood processor with DM4000 timber deck, and a Logosol sawmill.

It was a good event for making announcements, such as the reveal of the winners of this year’s Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards.

READ MORE: Agroforestry 'proven' to boost yields and protect farms

Also announced were new measures designed to boost agroforestry in Scotland. Scottish Forestry will be increasing the grant rate for agroforestry projects by 50 per cent, from £3,600 per hectare to £5,400 per hectare, and making agroforestry funding available for planting fruit and nut and native trees.

Forestry Journal: Sean Reilly of Arbforest was keen to talk about the TMU tool carrrier.Sean Reilly of Arbforest was keen to talk about the TMU tool carrrier. (Image: FJ)

It will also allow additional protection measures for trees so cattle can graze within agroforestry projects, and give farmers more opportunity to participate in agroforestry by adapting the planting thresholds.

The announcement was made by Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon during her keynote speech at the ‘Why grow trees?’ event, organised jointly by Scottish Land and Estates and the Integrating Trees Network, a joint farmer-led project supported by Scottish Forestry and the Scottish Government.

Ms Gougeon said: “The farming community has a large part to play in reaching our national woodland-creation targets and to becoming world leaders in sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

“Encouraging and supporting farmers to integrate trees on their farms is also vital in achieving our overall targets for net zero. Not only are there benefits to climate change and biodiversity, planting trees can provide farmers with added income, shelter for livestock and some diversification to the business.

Forestry Journal: Rachel and Leslie Weatherup of Logosol dealer Livingston Garden Machinery with the B1001 mill.Rachel and Leslie Weatherup of Logosol dealer Livingston Garden Machinery with the B1001 mill. (Image: FJ)

“I’d like to see more farmers reap the benefits of tree planting, and these new measures will do just that and boost agroforestry in Scotland.”

Another Scottish Government politician to visit the forestry area was Lorna Slater, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity.

On a whistle-stop tour of various stands she made an extended visit to James Jones and Sons’ new electric timber truck, the first of two set to appear on Scottish roads as part of the Net Zero Timhaul trial.

Forestry Journal: Carvers kept the crowds entertained.Carvers kept the crowds entertained. (Image: FJ)

Creel Maritime is managing the project and Neil Stoddart was on hand to answer questions from interested parties across the weekend.

As ever, there was plenty of machinery and equipment around the stands, from exhibitors like Fuelwood, Field and Forest, Chandlers and many more.

John Deere and Ponsse supplied the large-scale machines, with the Finnish manufacturer showcasing its biggest forwarder yet, the 25-tonne Mammoth.

Forestry Journal: The first Mammoth in the UK was the star attraction on Ponsse's stand.The first Mammoth in the UK was the star attraction on Ponsse's stand. (Image: FJ)

The model on the stand was the first to be imported to the UK and Ponsse revealed it had already been sold to a harvesting contractor in Wales.

At the smaller end of the scale, new machinery and equipment to be found included the TMU tool carrier from Arbforest and the wood-pellet-powered Phoenix patio heater from PJ Gaul.

Keep an eye across our channels from more from show season, including the RHS and Swedish Forestry Expo.