Published: 19th Jun 2013

The following was first published as a Guest Column in the West Highland Free Press on 10 August 2012. The subject matter is one of a large number of vital topics that should be addressed by the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Review Group. Earlier this year I inquired into the land ownership pattern of Scotland’s private forests and found that the Forestry Commission collects no data on the topic and as recently as 2011 was providing statistical data to the United Nations based upon a UK wide sample from 1977. What I found astonished me (see graphs below). Over 44% of private forests in Scotland are over 100ha in size and account for over 94% of the forest area. Across Europe most forests are small-scale and less that 1% are over 100ha in size. Over half of Scotland’s private forests are owned by absentee owners and a third don’t even live in Scotland. … (To read the full article, subscribe below)