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Caithness Community Web Site

Nature and Environment

Forestry in Caithness

Nowadays the tree coverage of Caithness is only around 5 %, which is noticeably smaller than that of Scottish average (20%) or even British average (10%). Previously, around 5 000 BC, Caithness would have been well covered with Scots pine forest. Today Caithness contains a lot of commercial forestry, supporting local jobs and the community.

Most common native species in the Caithness area are birch, oak, rowan and willow. Most common non-commercial tree species, especially in urban areas is sycamore. The two most important commercial species are sitka spruce and lodgepole pine. Sitka spruce is an important, fast growing exotic timber from North-West America which does well in the wet climate and on the poor soils of Caithness.

The Forestry Commission (FC), and Fountain Forestry are the main commercial growers. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for state forestry. The Forestry Enterprise (and agent of FC) manages the nation's forests. FC forests are owned by the nation and are open to the public. The FC manages timber production, forest recreation and biological and cultural conservation of FC land.

The Forests of the Far North area are managed by the Forestry Commission.   The area stretches from the Cromarty Firth in the south to the Pentland Firth in the north. The character and landscape of these forests is continually changing as parts of the forests are felled and replanted.  These forests offer an wide range of different kinds of walking, bike and horse riding routes where one can have an opportunity to spot wildlife, exercise or just enjoy the atmosphere of the forest.

For more information on forest walks, bike and horse riding routes check Forests of the Far North web page.

Read an article on forestry in the North Scotland: Your Forests In The New Millennium  By Colin Leslie

For more information on trees, interesting and useful links, etc go to Trees