Development of a forestry plan for the upper catchment of the South Esk to provide options for socio-economic benefits and taking account of stakeholder participation
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Lew, Siew Yan
The Scottish Government has been encouraging institutions to carry out tree plantings in order to achieve the government’s new target of planting 100,000 hectare of woodlands every year in Scotland. The purpose of this research was to support the protection and maintenance of native species and habitats for the action card of “habitats and species” in the River South Esk Catchment Management Plan. It also aimed to highlight the importance of woodland creation to stakeholders, particularly for landowners and land managers within the upper catchment, as well as develop a preliminary forestry plan with suggestions about appropriate planting models to be applied in different areas within the upper catchment of the South Esk river, and to study stakeholder participation in the implementation of the South Esk Catchment Management Plan since 2010 and their possible future working relationship to implement planting activities, as proposed in the preliminary forestry plan. The research was carried out in collaboration with Esk Rivers and Fisheries Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland and UPM Tillhill Forestry. The research was using multi-methods involved data compilation from projects’ reports and websites, primary data collection by semi-structured questionnaire and interview, field survey for site observation and application of software i.e. Geographic Information System (GIS) to develop the preliminary forestry plan. The forestry plan was built mainly based on a site data analysis using Ecological Site Classification Decision Support Service Tool which was developed by Forest Research. This research proposed to have three priority zones to implementing the planting activities through contour planting or riparian planting. Nevertheless, the proposal is preliminary and participation of relevant stakeholders who are working at the catchment should be consulted so as to agree on a common understanding and working towards a same goal.