Forestry Journal:

This piece is an extract from our Latest from the Woods newsletter (previously Forestry Latest News), which is emailed out at 4PM every Friday with a round-up of the week's top stories. 

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THIS is one of those rare weeks in which I struggled to come up with something to write about for your Friday forestry fix.

There I was – 'fresh' from putting April's Forestry Journal to bed – and all I could do was stare blankly at the screen, hands hovering over my keyboard in the hope the words would soon start flowing. 

They did not; and that's not because it's been a particularly quiet seven days in forestry. 

There have been product launches (Tigercat's new harvesting head an especially exciting one) and one major move by a British timber processor Down Under. Significantly, the unstoppable juggernaut that is the Royal Society of Edinburgh's (RSE) report into public financial support for the sector in Scotland showed no signs of slowing down as it continued to divide the industry. 

The lead topic of March's Forestry Briefing video, the inquiry's polarising effect remains striking. Take this comment from a viewer: "Broadleaves/hardwoods are a total waste of time." When asked by another why he felt this way, he added: "Because the majority of jobs in the forestry industry depend on softwoods. If you want to destroy the forest industry in Scotland, plant hardwoods." But for every forestry professional who argues that case – with plenty of justification – there will be another desperate to see the report's conclusions realised.

A lot has happened in forestry lately. Not all of it has been good, and there are many who would argue a lot of it has been bad. For all the debate over the RSE's findings, it can't be forgotten that it is occurring as the industry wrestles with the fact its budget was cut by 41 per cent in Scotland.

Despite Scottish Forestry officials trying (understandably) to put a positive spin on the situation by announcing that a record 14,000 hectares of new woodland has been approved in the current planting season, the feeling of doom for what's to come just isn't quite abating. And that's before we point out the key difference between 'approved' and 'planted'. But I digress. 

Forestry Journal: Scotland's forestry secretary, Mairi Gougeon, said approving 14,000 ha of new woodland was a 'remarkable achievement' Scotland's forestry secretary, Mairi Gougeon, said approving 14,000 ha of new woodland was a 'remarkable achievement' 

Perhaps a week of keeping our heads down and getting on with things was best for all of us. It won't be long until there are plenty of distractions out there again.

At least then I'll find it easier to write this newsletter.