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Forestry plan will soak up 50k tonnes of CO2 by 2045

VISION: Ken Greenland, Helen Webb and Sarah Toulson on the Sutherland estate.
VISION: Ken Greenland, Helen Webb and Sarah Toulson on the Sutherland estate.

A Sutherland farmer is preparing to plant enough trees to absorb the emissions from 11,000 cars being used for a year.

Dornoch farmer Ken Greenland has been granted approval to establish a 2,300-acre block of woodland on the Cambusmore Estate.

The scheme, which is the largest woodland to be approved for planting by Scottish Forestry this century, will stretch over 12km along Strath Carnaig.

It has been backed by £3.2 million funding from Scottish Forestry and nearly all of the 1.4m trees in the scheme will be native species – mostly Scots pine and birch with rowan, oak, aspen and alder.

Just over 140 acres has been earmarked for timber production, and Mr Greenland said the plans included provisions for natural regeneration, to help grow the woodland over time.

“I want to improve my hill grazing and introduce more cattle, while operating within the land which is under Special Protection Area status,” added Mr Greenland.

“The planting is nearly all of native species as I really want to increase the habitat for the amazing range of wildlife species we have on the ground.

“I believe the Highlands can offer both quality food production and a top-quality environment.”

He said the scheme is expected to sequester almost 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2045 – the equivalent to soaking up the emissions of 11,000 cars being used for a year.

The planned forestry development at Cambusmore.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the scheme was significant in both size and importance.

He said: “It is a welcome boost towards our national tree-planting targets, which are key in our efforts to tackle the current climate emergency.

“The scheme is also a great example of farming being fully integrated with forestry.

“This approach benefits both the farming business and the environment at the same time.”

Helen Webb, a woodland officer from Scottish Forestry’s Highlands and Islands Conservancy, said the trees will be planted over a three-year period, starting this winter.

She said detailed surveys and an environmental report had been undertaken for the application to ensure all potential impacts were properly mitigated.

Mr Greenland’s forestry agent, Sarah Toulson from Cawdor Forestry, welcomed approval of the scheme and said: “Not only is it a significant contribution to the Scottish Government planting targets but it will greatly improve the native woodland and habitat networks in this beautiful part of the world.”

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