A new form of forest tenure has been established in Galloway, the first of its type in Scotland
Mark Rowe has become the first holder of a woodlot licence issued under the auspices of the Scottish Woodlot Association, on the Corsewall Estate near Stranraer, Wigtownshire. Mark, 32, runs a forestry consultancy and mobile sawmill business and has broad experience in rural land management.
The woodlot licence covers 37ha of mixed woodland on the estate and initially will be an 18 month pilot to establish the concept, though all parties are committed to a longer term agreement following this first phase.
Under the terms of the licence Mark will be responsible for managing the woodlot according to a management plan agreed with the landowner, Angus Carrick-Buchanan. This will include felling and extracting timber, which he will then be allowed to process & sell himself, as firewood and sawn timber. In return Mark will pay an annual rental for the woodlot.
The concept of woodlot licences has been inspired by the situation in British Columbia (BC) where the Provincial Government has been running a highly successful woodlot licence programme on Crown (government) land for over 30 years. There, they are seen as an important part of a diverse forestry sector, delivering particular local and community benefits, and as such are being actively promoted and expanded by the Government of BC.
The Scottish Woodlot Association (SWA) has been established to take forward the concept in Scotland, where recent research has revealed the ownership and management of forestry to be highly concentrated. This results in both a lack of diversity in the sector, and also a lack of opportunity for individuals to get involved in managing woodland for themselves. The SWA hope in time that woodlot licence tenure will become an important ‘family forestry’ model in a more diverse Scottish forestry.
Mark Rowe, woodlot licence holder, Corsewall Woodlot
“It is very difficult to obtain a woodland to manage unless you have the resources available to purchase the land. When I heard about the woodlot licence approach I felt it was perfect for me and had to get involved. My aim for the woodlot is primarily to establish a firewood business for the local area but I will add value to timber wherever possible. I would like to thank Angus, and the Scottish Woodlot Association, for this opportunity.”
Andy Brown, Secretary, Scottish Woodlot Association
“This is a historic day for family forestry in Scotland, and we hope in years to come there will be many more woodlot licences established, supporting a flourishing woodland culture. However every journey has to start with a first step, and all credit to Angus Carrick-Buchanan as landowner for having the vision to support this new tenure arrangement.”
Angus Carrick-Buchanan, Corsewall Estate
“There are tens of thousands of acres of unmanaged woodland across Scotland’s farms, estates and local authorities. This pilot project with the Scottish Woodlot Association (SWA) sets out to prove that the woodlot licence holder, the woodland owner, the environment and the local economy can all win. We are not reinventing the wheel. It has been tried and tested in British Columbia for decades. The rise in timber prices, demand for firewood and an increasing awareness of the economic value of previously abandoned woodland on farms and estates will ensure that the SWA has a great future.”
Brian McNaughton, general manager, Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations
“The Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations’ (FBCWA) congratulates the Scottish Woodlot Association on establishing Scotland’s first Woodlot Licence. This is a notable accomplishment and hopefully it’s the first of many woodlot licences in Scotland. The FBCWA is proud to have been able to offer advice and encouragement. In a small way, we feel as if your success is our success. Congratulations!”