Highland farmer to create landscape size woodland

Ken Greenland will plant around 1.4 million trees on the Cambusmore estate
Ken Greenland will plant around 1.4 million trees on the Cambusmore estate

A farmer based in the Highlands will grow the largest woodland to be approved by Scotland's authorities so far this century.

From end to end, the new 933 hectare (2305 acres) woodland project will stretch over 12 kilometres along Strath Carnaig.

Sutherland farmer Ken Greenland is working with Scottish Forestry to approve the plan, which aims to increase the biodiversity of the Cambusmore estate.

Nearly all the new trees – 1.4 million in total - will be native species, mostly scots pine and birch with rowan, oak, aspen and alder.

The plan will also see natural regeneration to help grow the woodland over time, and around 58 ha has been earmarked for timber production.

The new planting will sequester nearly 50,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2045 - equivalent to soaking up the emissions of 11,000 cars being used for a year.

Scottish government's Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing welcomed the project, highlighting it as a 'great example of farming being fully integrated with forestry'.

Integrating the new woodland with his farming business is a key objective for Mr Greenland, as it will also help rationalise and improve his hill grazing.

He said: “I want to improve my hill grazing and introduce more cattle, whilst operating within the land which is under Special Protection Area status.

“The planting is nearly all of native species as I really want to increase the habitat for the amazing range of wildlife species we have on the ground.

"I believe that the Highlands can offer both quality food production and a top quality environment."

The Scottish government aims to plant 12,000 hectares of trees and woodlands annually, with the target increasing to 18,000 hectares per year by 2024/25.