THE importance of the forestry industry in and around Eskdalemuir and of Eskdalemuir forest to timber processors in Dumfries and Galloway was the focus of a talk in the Eskdalemuir Hub.
George Birrell, forestry director of Kronospan, which owns Eskdalemuir Forestry, also covered the forest’s importance to the Scottish economy and the UK economy.
The timber is used in processes in Ayrshire, northern England and Wales.
He focused on the forestry operations which the residents could see happening around them and why certain operations happened as and when they did.
The talk followed a forest’s life cycle through preparation for felling, how they protected vulnerable habitats and wildlife and considered other factors such as historic sites, landscape design and protection of watercourses.
He went over the UK forest standard and forest certification and the criteria forest owners have to meet when carrying out operations.
He described the harvesting and haulage operations and talked through each process.
Machine operators in Eskdalemuir were local to Dumfries and the Scottish Borders and Eskdalemuir forest was now a vital part of the Scottish forestry industry, generating £1 billion for the economy and providing nearly 30,000 jobs.
The audience learned about the timber products made from the timber harvested in Eskdalemuir, looking at the processes and end uses.
Mr Birrell said: “This region has a modern forest processing sector and I described the technological advances and how the region has some of the country’s most modern sawmilling machinery.
“Discussion centred on restocking the harvested sites and how we prepare sites for replanting, looking at where young trees, both commercial and native species, are sourced from and what species are planted where.
“I went through the operations after replanting such as replacing losses (beat up) and weeding.
“The presentation was well attended and there was some very good questions and debate from the audience, with topics ranging from timber haulage to climate change.