Forestry is no threat to wildlife on Mull
Sir, I am writing to reassure residents and anyone connected with Mull that there is no threat to wildlife in the area as a result of the trees that are being planted. In fact, working with the local community and land owners to protect the local environment is central to our operations.
Our work on Mull has been extensive and positive. It has included: helping to provide solutions to exporting timber from Mull to the mainland and Ireland; helping to minimise impacts on fragile roads by designing low-impact timber trucks, and creating forest design plans that help both community and private clients achieve their objectives for their forests.
Our ecologists have guided the work to ensure minimal impact on the environment – including ensuring the floating pier does not interfere with otters. Our felling plans ensure white-tailed eagles flourish in the forests where they nest. To name just two examples.
Your article ‘ Chemical threat to Mull wildlife’ in last week’s paper mentions the use of a systemic pesticide called Gazelle.
Like many other crops, trees can suffer from damage by insects such as weevils. To help them to thrive, the young trees are treated in a controlled environment in the nursery where they are grown before being transported to site for planting. The use of Gazelle is only possible because of extensive tests and studies. It has been approved by the EU and the UK CRD (Chemical Regulation Department) and is approved by our dual Forest Sustainable Management Bodies PEFC and FSC as well as by the Forestry Commission and UK WAS (UK Woodland Assurance Scheme).
We only use pesticides when it is absolutely necessary and are striving to reduce our usage. That is why we are major players in the Hylobius (weevil) Plant Protection Group – a cross-industry group that is looking for the elusive goal of non-pesticidal Hylobius management. We have been carrying out trials since early 2000s – firstly searching for lighter footprint pesticides and secondly for non-pesticide solutions.
It is true to say that global demand for timber is increasing and, yes, China is having a significant impact on this. ‘Scotland plc’ is well placed to be a major player in forestry which is why the Scottish Government is so supportive of the industry.
Forestry produces sustainable, low- carbon material for construction as well as renewable fuel. This helps reduce the use of fossil-hungry materials such as steel, concrete and coal. The forests sequester carbon helping with our climate change targets in a sustainable way while providing jobs and protecting wildlife.
Restocking the forests allows the 1970s plantations to be improved and the planting of trees with better genetics to make the timber far more resilient and useful while creating forests for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.
Tim Liddon, Forestry Director, Tilhill Forestry.