A LOCHMABEN resident who is against commercial tree planting has called for a different approach to forestry and woodland expansion in Scotland.
Minette MacDonald has complained to Forestry and Land Scotland and fellow organisations saying they are “destroying every single bit of hill ground, white grass and moorland to plant thousands of acres of conifers non-native trees”.
She believes their planting is “mono culture of the worst kind” and “virtually all the hill ground is gone”. Minette has also shared her concerns that wildlife is being decimated because of commercial planting.
Minette wrote in her letter: “Your disregard for ground nesting birds such as curlew, snipe, golden/silver plover, lapwing and I could go on, is mind blowing. Commercial planting is mono culture of the worst kind. Farmers are singled out as habitat destroyers but it seems to me that you are sailing under the security blanket of ‘lets plant trees to save the planet’.
“Your type of planting does anything but, you plough peat bogs releasing co2 into the atmosphere. You spray for pests and create a dead zone where nothing thrives. Come harvest time, most of the timber goes for pallets. When the entire forest is felled it’s a waste land.
“When are you going to realise that what you’re doing is as bad as felling a rain forest. I live in south west Scotland and virtually all the hill ground is gone. We have no waders nesting any more here. It’s time you face up and owned up to what you’re doing.
“It must weigh on your minds the destruction you are causing. Planting a certain percentage of natives – which you can hardly see – does not allow you to go under the radar. It’s about time the environmental finger was pointed at you.”
Minette – who sent her letter of complaint two weeks ago – has stressed she wants to draw attention to the region’s “diminishing” hill ground issues.
She added: “I want it to be brought into the public eye. They are destroying valuable natural nesting sites for wading birds. That is my point. When they plant, they create a dead zone and nothing lives under there. Everything is gone.
“The changes I want to see is for it to be more heavily regulated. They need big wild natural tracks of land between the trees and put more native trees in.
“Plant it with more thought to preserving white grass country. I can’t stop the planting but I want people to know it’s not acceptable in the greater scheme of things.”
A spokesman for Forestry and Land Scotland said: “That is not a description of modern forestry practice and is not one that we recognise.
“Sustainable forest management, peatland restoration, and habitat and species conservation are principle factors in our approach to land management.
“Sustainable forest management also has an absolutely fundamental role to play in mitigating the Climate Emergency, capturing carbon emissions and recycling them into usable products, making emissions work for us rather than against us.
“Your readers would find some helpful, up-to-date information on our website.”