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Forest Direct Makes Nature of Scotland Award's Shortlist

Sep 13, 2021

Forest Direct Ltd’s Damhead planting scheme at Traquair Estate in the Scottish Borders has been shortlisted in the Forest and Woodland category at RSPB Scotland’s 10th anniversary Nature of Scotland Awards.

Traquair House Charitable Trust’s vision was to produce a highly diverse mixed woodland that coupled habitat creation and carbon sequestration with productive forestry with the aim of delivering a sustainable woodland ecosystem that supported community interests.

The result was a new woodland spanning 289.18ha with an additional area of heather hilltop and habitat sensitive areas of 32.79ha. The woodland contains only 20% Sitka spruce, protects the incredible biodiversity and provides access for walkers and cyclists to enjoy the beautiful landscape.

Jeremy Thompson, Managing Director, Forest Direct Ltd said: “The legacy of Damhead is more valuable than the sum of its parts. It has given Forest Direct Ltd team a real sense of worth and self-esteem for a project well done. It has engaged three young people into Forestry and now will be their long term future employment. It has set the benchmark locally for what can be achieved and has offered Traquair House Charitable Trust a diverse income stream. For the young team at Forest Direct Ltd, Damhead has proven to them that an excellent job can be achieved, that forestry is not Sitka from head to toe and this project will always be a marker in their heads of how it can and should be done.”

Catherine Maxwell-Stuart, Traquair Estate, said: ” We are delighted to have partnered with Forest Direct on this innovative forestry scheme. Sustainability is an absolute priority for Traquair and we are committed to encouraging biodiverse habitats as well as providing as much access to the forests as possible. “

The awards, co-sponsored by NatureScot, mark a decade of celebrating Scotland’s nature champions. They will recognise the individuals and organisations making a difference in their local communities, businesses and schools to support Scotland’s wildlife and special places.

52 initiatives from across Scotland have been shortlisted across nine categories, and winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on 17 November.

This year will also see a special 10th anniversary accolade for Nature Champions of the Decade, which will be decided by a public vote from a selection of previous winners from the last 10 years.

Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland said: “The last 18 months have reignited many people’s love for nature, highlighting its importance to all aspects of our lives – be it our health, the economy, or wellbeing.

“This is reflected in the exceptionally high standard of entries for our 10th anniversary Nature of Scotland Awards. We’ve seen outstanding examples from community work and local dog walkers to businesses and schools making a fundamental change to their practices, for the benefit of our environment.

“Our judges will not have an easy job whittling this down to just nine winners, and in order to find our 10th I would urge everyone to vote for their Nature Champions of the Decade. Huge thanks to everyone who applied and congratulations to everyone who has been shortlisted!”

Francesca Osowska, chief executive of awards co-sponsor NatureScot, said: “The applications for the Nature of Scotland Awards have been inspiring, showing we all benefit from nature, and everyone can help to create a nature-rich future in Scotland.

“We’re proud to support the awards, and we are particularly excited this year to be sponsoring the new Nature Champions of the Decade category.

“Good luck to all of the shortlisted finalists, we look forward to celebrating the many dedicated people and projects leading the way to protect and enhance our biodiversity.”

To find out more about Damhead check out our case study here.