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Conference to debate key forestry and carbon issues

Hot issues and opportunities for the Scottish forestry sector are set to be debated at a major conference organised by Forestry Commission Scotland and ConFor.

Farming and forestry, the new markets for renewable energy and the use of timber in construction are just some of the key issues to be aired in the Forestry in the Low Carbon Economy conference on 2 June.

Keynote speakers include Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, NFUS President Jim McLaren, John Mitchell of Scottish and Southern Energy, and Steve Lavery, the Managing Director of UPM Tilhill.

Colin Mann, Chair of ConFor added:

“Scotland’s forests and the wood they produce can play a significant role in helping Scotland deliver on a low-carbon economy. This prestigious conference will help us to understand how best that can be achieved.”

During the conference, important studies such as the Read report into climate change, John Clegg’s study into fibre supply and demand and the SAC economic assessment of woodland creation on farms will help kick start discussion.

Bob McIntosh, Director Forestry Commission Scotland, said:

"The forestry sector can be part of the solution to climate change mitigation, playing an important part in carbon sequestration through creating more woodlands, and through substituting wood for fossil fuels and more carbon-intensive construction materials.  This conference will provide an opportunity to consider how best to develop these opportunities while ensuring that the forestry sector works well with, and integrates with, other land uses such as agriculture."
The conference’s aim is to inform and raise awareness, across different sectors, of the role that forestry and wood in a low carbon economy. It also aims to bring key stakeholders sectors together to discuss the role of forestry and wood can play and how that role can be optimised.


1. The conference, to be held on 2nd June 2010, is by invitation only.

2. For further information, please contact Stuart Goodall: 0131 240 1410 or 07760 557448 or stuart.goodall@confor.org.uk ConFor (Confederation of Forest industries) represents forestry and wood-using businesses from nurseries and growers to wood-processing end-users in the UK. www.confor.org.uk

3. Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.

4. The Sir David Read report, Combating climate change - a role for UK forests, is at www.forestry.gov.uk/climatechange  It states: “Woodlands planted since 1990, coupled to an enhanced woodland creations programme of 23 200ha per year (14,840ha additional to the 8360ha per year assume in business as usual projections) over the next 40 years, could, by 2050, be delivering, on an annual basis, emissions abatement equivalent to 10% of GHG emissions at that time.  Such a programme would represent a 4% change in land cover and would bring UK forest area to 16% which would still be well below the European average.”

5. The key findings of the Read report are:
 A clear need for more woodlands
 An asset to be managed wisely
 The status quo is not an option
 Harvesting and use of wood increases forestry’s mitigation potential
 Trees help people adapt
The report stresses, that while gaps for further research have been identified, of equal importance is communicating the findings to decision-makers, to enable trees, woodlands and forestry to be placed at the heart of climate change policy.

6. Wood fibre availability and demand in Britain, 2007-2025, by John Clegg Consulting Ltd, April 2010, was commissioned jointly by ConFor, the UK Forest Products Association and the Wood Panel Industries Federation. It is at www.confor.org.uk The report says: “There are 33 companies that are operating, or have plans to operate, 63 wood energy plants and of these 16 larger-scale commercial wood energy plants are operating now.” It also says there are at least five more larger-scale proposals where the companies did not wish to provide information.

7.  Media enquiries on the conference to Jane Kathaus, ConFor, 01668 213937, or for Forestry Commission Scotland press office, Steve Williams, 0131 314 6508

e-mail: steve.williams@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

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