With growing awareness of ecological challenges, the Forestry Commission in Scotland evolves again


Since the turn of the century, the rise of the conservation movement has become the central story of the forestry sector. New rules and research into sustainability, carbon capture and forest management have wrought big changes within the industry, and the collection of organisations formerly known as the Forestry Commission have undergone some big changes too.

MSP Fergus Ewing visits the FLS Seed Orchard at Ledmore in August 2019. Mr Ewing took part in seed collection with FLS staff, and spent the day learning about how seed yields can be maximised to make the most of future commercial crops.

The work of developing Scotland’s forestry sector via commercial activity, academic research, and the promotion of woodlands as places to relax and spend time continues, with a firm commitment to protecting both the forest industries, and the delicate balance of the environment.

There is a renewed focus on sustainability and conservation, with projects addressing the protection of wildlife, reducing the environmental impact of forestry activities, and promoting health and wellbeing through networks of trails, specially-equipped Visitor Centres, and ongoing collaboration and partnerships with local communities.


If the early Commissioners saw Scotland’s forests today, what would they think? They could probably still suggest plenty of improvements. But there’s no doubt about the progress that has been made in 100 short years. The forests and land being planted and managed today will continue to yield proof of the successes of the forestry sector’s efforts well into the 21st century, and beyond.



Ever since 2003, with the beginning of the process for devolution of the responsibility for forestry to the Scottish Parliament, the organisation looking after Scotland’s wild places was known as Forestry Commission Scotland.

That changed in 2019, with the creation of Forestry and Land Scotland, and its sister organisation Scottish Forestry. The two organisations continue to share knowledge and collaborate, with a renewed commitment from both to sustainability, excellence, and community engagement.



Set up in 2004, Confor is a membership organisation connecting all of the different sectors of the forestry industries.

With a strong focus on sustainability and industry best practice, they provide a connection between government bodies and the industry at large, lobbying on behalf of the sector on a not-for-profit basis.

Today, Confor’s publications and activities help to build a strong, sustainable market for wood and forest products, creating a supportive policy environment for businesses, and working with partner organisations to overcome challenges and difficulties in the sector.

Archie McNeillie (right) and friend, breakout stars of ‘The Forest’

Archie McNeillie (right) and friend, breakout stars of ‘The Forest’

Lyndy Renwick, who works with communities in Galloway Forest

Lyndy Renwick, who works with communities in Galloway Forest

forestry in the public eye: BBC SCOTLAND’s ‘THE FOREST’

Aired in November 2018, BBC Scotland’s excellent documentary The Forest was a 6-part series exploring every aspect of Scotland’s forest industries, from ongoing conservation efforts and wildlife management, to trail maintenance and commercial forestry operations.

Two of the break out stars from FLS were Archie McNeillie (pictured, above right), an experienced Ranger in Forestry Commission Scotland’s Galloway team, and Lyndy Renwick, the Community Projects Manager for the area who helps with Community Asset Transfers and other collaborations with the local residents.