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A woodland creation project has delivered 100 acres of tree planting in West Lothian. The Whitelea Burn woodland creation project was completed earlier this year, providing both environmental and economic benefits to the area.

A dramatic increase in woodland cover is essential to mitigating the effects of the planet’s climate emergency. CSGNT recognises this imperative, and continues to contribute towards woodland creation across central Scotland.

2018/19 has been a record year for woodland creation in Scotland with the national target to plant 10,000 hectares being surpassed. CSGNT’s most recent contribution to this is the completion of the 100 acre Whitelea Burn woodland creation project in West Lothian. The site can be found along the A70 between Harburn and Kirknewton.

Before planting, the site was an unproductive area of ground that was difficult to manage agriculturally, and provided little benefit from both environmental and economic perspectives. The woodland was carefully designed with input from the woodland officers of Scottish Forestry’s Central Scotland Conservancy.

With their assistance, the benefits the woodland provides have been maximised; areas of deep peat nearby have been excluded to ensure their own carbon carrying capacity isn’t compromised; broadleaved native species have been planted to offer aesthetic variety and habitat connectivity; and tree species have been chosen to best suit the site’s conditions.

The delivery of the project was carried out by forestry contractors Highfield Forestry, who ensured the scheme was realised as designed and in line with best practice, in spite of particularly challenging site conditions and weather.

Ned Rundell, Project Manager at CSGNT expanded on the significance of the project within the CSGN: “Given the Climate Emergency we are faced with, woodland creation at scale is essential. This woodland will store close to 33,000 tonnes of carbon, which is fantastic.

“Better still, a proportion of this carbon will then be ‘locked in’ in the form of whatever products are made from it when it is harvested – and whilst these products are being used, new trees are planted where the previous ones stood, and the cycle continues and builds.

“The UK imports close to 60% of its timber. CSGNT is proud to contribute to increasing the self-sufficiency of Scotland’s timber demand, and combatting the climate emergency in the most effective way we know; planting trees.”

The landowners at Dalmahoy farms were also pleased with the project and the benefits the woodland will provide: “We were delighted to be able to utilise the Forestry Grant Scheme to create a productive woodland at Whitelea Burn. The ground was largely unproductive for grazing and difficult to manage with steep terrain, water courses and old fencing.

“We now have a woodland which will benefit future generations as well as a new fence which will make livestock management in neighbouring fields easier.”