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NHFT E-letter 15th May '06
Apologies for those of you expecting an April version of this letter. Perhaps monthly was a bit ambitious. A lot happened in the small world of forestry over the last month and a half. Of particular note might be the collapse of SFGS support. But also lots of positive news too.

Attached to this email is a copy of the flier for your annual forum next month. I hope to see many of you there.

As always, if you have any information you would like to promote, please send it to us. Likewise, if you would like information, advice or support on anything to do with community forestry/crofter forestry or wood and wood products in the North, then please get in touch.

Steve Robertson


1. NHFT's Annual Forum 2006
2. Closure of SFGS
3. New SFGS: 2007 onwards
4. Scottish Forestry Strategy 2006
5. Forest Crofts
6. New Man at FCS Dornoch
7. Wood for Energy
8. Wild Harvests
9. Making your Land Pay seminar
10.Funding opportunities
11. Big Willow Event at Brahan
Woodland Walks
12.Guided Woodland Walks in Sutherland/Caithness: May/June '06


1.NHFT's Annual Forum, Sat 10th June 2006: Woodland Regeneration in the Far North
Laid, Loch Eriboll, by Durness will be the venue for the above event (flier attached. If you feel like advertising this event locally to you, then please do so.).

This year's theme will be woodland establishment, looking at ways to help young trees or tree seeds to thrive and flourish into healthy woodlands, especially in marginal growth situations of poor soils and climate!

hhHands-on planting and seed workshops, led by a range of the top tree people in the north (including the Laid crofters), will hopeful allow a very satisfying look at this subject. The setting of the amazing new broadleaved plantings on the crofts at Laid will also provide excellent examples of what to do, and what perhaps not to do, when trying to grow trees.

For those interested in funding for planting schemes, we will also be taking a brief look at changes in the forestry grants system, and the move towards Land Management Contracts, with relevant experts from the Forestry Commission and the Scottish Agricultural College there to explain things.

All are welcome, you don't have to be a member of the Trust or any other organisation or group, or to have any knowledge at all about trees. Just let us know that you intend to come along.

The event is totally free (a mileage contribution can also be paid to those resident in Sutherland and Caithness). A creche will also be available, but you must let us know in advance if you require this.

Hopefully this will be a fun and worthwhile event and hope to see you there.

2. Closure of SFGS (Scottish Forestry Grants Scheme)
As many of you will now be only too well aware, the Scottish Forestry Grant Scheme closed to new applicants just over a month ago. This was due to the unprecedented number of applications as a result of the planned closure of the scheme in August 2006. From the information currently available, the only new FCS grant still accessible in the North are the SFGS Locational Premiums for new planting under two themes.
* Theme 1 (adding value locally for crofting townships and communities)
providing opportunities to create new mixed woodlands of species such as Douglas fir, Larch and Scots pine, from 5 ha to 30 ha. This may include planting linked to existing young new native plantations which are accessible and nearby the communities which will benefit from them.

* Theme 2 (expand forest habitat networks)
planting any native species woodland up to 100 ha which creates a viable link or links between existing native woodland forest habitat networks. Non-native species may be considered in exceptional circumstances where there is a clear biodiversity gain.

How much is the Locational Premium?
This ranges from an additional 450/ha to 2000/ha on top of SFGS/FP payments.

If the money there holds out, and it may well do, these will close in August as planned. If you feel your scheme could fit into the above contact this office or the Conservancy office in Dingwall to discuss this.

3. New SFGS: 2007 onwards
The consultation paper on the revised grants scheme is now available if you wish to have your say. The scheme has been under review since the middle of last year and is due to be relaunched in 2007 to complement the introduction of the new Rural Development Plan and Land Management Contracts Scheme, also planned for 2007.

A copy of the consultation document can be found when visiting www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland   . Anyone interested in commenting on the proposals is invited to do so by 27 June 2006. Please send comments to Douglas Wright (Forestry Commission Scotland, 231 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 7AT), preferably by email: douglas.wright@forestry.gsi.gov.uk 

4. Scottish Forestry Strategy 2006
Still time to contribute to this document. The draft Scottish Forestry Strategy 2006 consultation period runs until 29th May. A lot of people have commented to me on how willing Forestry Commission Scotland and the relevant politicians have been to listen to and act on what we have asked of them as regards policy change of the last several years. It's well worth putting your views forward for this strategy. Then it will be up to all of us to continue making positive change happen.

This is the second of a 2-stage consultation, whereafter the Strategy will be revised according to comments received, and a new Strategy published later this summer.

The draft strategy is available at www.forestry.gov.uk/sfs  or free hard copy from 0131 314 6156; FCS, Silvan House, 231 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 7AT; or email fcscotland@forestry.gsi.gov.uk . Or contact the NHFT office.

5. Forest Crofts
The concept of woodland based crofts is rapidly gaining favour in Scotland. The following press release give an idea of how one aspect of this is developing.
Crofting opportunities in forests?
Proposals in the http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/bills/57-croftingReform/index.htm  Crofting Reform Bill could significantly help in the development of crofting businesses and lifestyles, according to http://www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland  Forestry Commission Scotland. The Bill will allow new crofts to be created in or next to existing woodlands on the national forest estate. Communities would apply to buy land through the Commission's http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-66re5j  National Forest Land Scheme, which will be amended to take account of this new opportunity proposed in the Bill. Officials from the Commission gave evidence recently to the Scottish Parliament http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/environment/index.htm  Environment and Rural Development Committee on how the national forest estate can play a bigger role in helping to develop crofting.

Bob McIntosh, Director of Forestry Commission Scotland said: "The proposals in the Crofting Reform Bill give us an exciting opportunity to use national forest land to develop crofting businesses and lifestyles." "New crofts could provide much needed sites for new homes or businesses, generate enthusiasm for woodland development in the community and potentially stimulate wood-fuel projects. There is a great demand for new crofts and the Bill could help develop a stronger crofting community in Scotland."

6. New Man at FCS Dornoch
Tim Cockerill is the new Forest District Manager at Dornoch managing all FCS's forests in the North, replacing Chris Nixon who has taken a one year secondment working on Environmental Policy with Forests New South Wales in Australia.

Tim had recently been working as the FCS Area Operations Manager based in Huntly, but has worked in Dornoch forest district before and is therefore very familiar with the area, and indeed will be known to many in the North.

Although as a relative newcomer to the North myself, it has been a pleasure to work with Chris, and I'm sure all of us at NHFT would like to wish him well in his Australian 'adventure'. And to welcome Tim Cockerill into his new post.

7. Wood for Energy...
Reforesting Scotland journal
The next issue which will focus on the theme of Energy and how this relates to trees and people (as usual, if you'd like to contribute to this, contact the RS office)! Journals are available to members or can be bought over the counter from this office or in select outlets in the North.

For more information contact:
Mandy Meikle, Editor, Reforesting Scotland, 62-66 Newhaven Road Edinburgh, EH6 5QB Tel: 0131 554 4321 mandy@reforestingscotland.org  or try www.reforestingscotland.org 
For other RS info or activities or projects, contact the Development Officer, Kristin Olsen at the RS office, or Kristin@reforestingscotland.org 

8. Wild Harvests seminar
This seminar held in Beauly earlier this month looked at non-timber forest products (NTFP's) and was a great success. Many representatives from the North attended and were inspired by the workshops and site visits and by the energy of the event.

If you weren't able to get to the event and are interested in any outputs, then you could try the website hosted by Reforesting Scotland at www.forestharvest.org.uk  or contact this office.

And also congratulations to Hilary Macleod from Lochinver who takes on the role of local Coordinator for the Reforesting Scotland NTFP project (Rural Alternatives) in the town working with Culag Community Woodland Trust.


And see also NHFT's Forum and woodland establishment training event in News, above.

9. Making Your Land Pay: 25/26th May 06
Seminar on Environmental Management being run by the Community Land Unit Skills Development Programme and hosted by the North Harris Trust. This takes place on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th May 2006 based in the Harris Hotel, Tarbert, Isle of Harris. This seminar has a very wide ranging programme including workshops with a wide range of experts from Community Woodland Groups in the North and from all the major Agencies. And also includes music, dance and amazing field visits. The event is free to those representing community organisations within the HIE area with travel and accommodation costs also being met.

For availability contact: Joan Cumming on 01859 550 317 or JCborve@aol.com 


10. Funding opportunities

See also SFGS Locational Premium option in News, above.

Some alternative funding options as below. Some of these may well provide an opportunity for some alternative activities in you woods or on your land to that which you might have planned under SFGS. For further information and ideas do contact this office.

Thanks to Diane at the Community Woodlands Association for the first few of these. (For information on how to get the CWA newsletter yourself go to www.community-woods.org.uk ).

100 from Trees For All - CWA members scheme with Woodland Trust

100 per tree planting event, has been offered to CWA members through the Woodland Trust "Trees for All" scheme. Details and application forms have been emailed to members but please contact Diane if you haven't seen this and are interested in applying. All applications should be returned by 31st August for autumn planting.

Awards for All
This fund increases from 5000 max to 10000 max from 9th May 06. www.awardsforall.org.uk

Rural Development Small Award Fund
500 - 5000 for rural settlements of under 3000 population. Funding to assess feasibility of new ideas www.scottishexecutive.gov.uk 
Big Lottery Bio Energy Capital Grant Scheme - BIG currently has a minimum of 2 million available for this grant round. They must receive completed applications for funding by 5.00pm on 31 July 2006. Grants will be offered in September 2006. Contact renewable.energy@biglotteryfund.org.uk  or go to http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/programmes/renewable/index.htm for more details
The Chestnut Fund - grants for conservation
The Chestnut Fund is an independent charity, making grants available to encourage and enable community groups to carry out conservation activities. The grants are administered by BTCV. Groups must be part of the BTCV Community Network to qualify.
The grants fall into two categories:
Start-up grants
These are for groups who have no money when they are first set up and are available to groups in their first year of association or about to associate to BTCV. The grant will enable them to begin practical work and will cover administrative expenses, e.g. postage, publicity, hire of meeting rooms, telephone bills and/or the first year of BTCV Association plus Insurance fees. The maximum grant will be 100.
Support grants
These are for groups who have no money for tools, equipment and training. Preference will be given to resources selected from BTCV sources. This grant is available to all BTCV associated groups, regardless of how long they have been associated to us. (Groups within their first year of association can apply for both the start-up grant and the support grant). The maximum grant will be 300. Forms can be obtained from your local BTCV http://www2.btcv.org.uk/display/%20%09/display/findbtcv  office or the Community Unit, on 01302 572 236. Please note that in order to apply, the group must return the form to the local BTCV office for approval before it can be processed by the Community Unit.

Forest Education Initiative
Forest Education Initiative (FEI) aims to increase the understanding and appreciation, particularly among young people, of the environmental, social, and economic potential of trees, woodlands and forests and of the link between the tree and everyday...The FEI Partnership Fund is specifically to support the work of FEI clusters. It can provide match funding for specific activities, which enhance the overall objectives of the FEI. These are to help develop among young people a greater understanding of trees, woodlands, forest management, forest products and wood as a sustainable resource. Grants of up to 5,000 (50% match funding needed) are still available throughout the year. Deadline 1st June 2006.

Info: http://www.foresteducation.org   Guidelines and http://www.foresteducation.org/local_groups.php?page=3  an application form

Highland 2007
Event Scotland is supporting cultural and sporting events, designed to showcase specific towns and regions across Scotland, outside of the key metropolitan areas of Glasgow and Edinburgh. The aims are to: generate economic benefits for specific regions of Scotland; attract visitors to a region from other parts of the country; inspire and involve local communities; and enhance the profile and appeal of the host region. Funding from 2,000 to 25,000 but unlikely to be for more than 25% of total costs. Highland 2007 deadline: 28 April 2006.

Info: Tel: (0131) 472 2313 Website: http://www.eventscotland.org 

Grants for Tree Planting from the Tree Council
The Tree Council, a national charity that promotes the planting and conservation of trees in town and countryside has two grant schemes available for 2006. These are the Trees for Schools Fund and the Communities Tree Fund. It's open to both to schools and community groups proposing to undertake well-planned tree planting projects starting in 2006 during National Tree Week, 22 November - 3 December.
Amount - grants of up to 700.
Contact - http://www.treecouncil.org.uk/tc/grants%20link.htm
Deadline - the closing date for both funding streams is the 31 May 2006

New Ideas Fund
The New Ideas Fund provides grants of between 100 and 5,000 to community and voluntary groups within disadvantaged areas or working with disadvantaged groups to assess the feasibility of new ideas and to develop and build support for new and innovative approaches to regeneration. Go to http://www.communitiesscotland.gov.uk/stellent/groups/public/documents/webpages/cs_006295.hcsp#TopOfPage  for more information and an application form.

Seeing is Believing Fund
The Seeing is Believing Fund provides small grants of between 100 and 5000 to community and voluntary groups within disadvantaged areas or working with disadvantaged groups so that they can visit and learn from successful regeneration projects or access other learning opportunities. Got to http://www.communitiesscotland.gov.uk/stellent/groups/public/documents/webpages/cs_006305.hcsp#TopOfPage  for more information and an application form.

The Community Environmental Renewal Scheme
The Community Environmental Renewal Scheme (CERS) aims to support projects that will improve the local environment for communities affected by quarrying. CERS offers grants of up to 50,000 to projects that involve the local community and can demonstrate local social or economic benefits. The final deadline for the CERS scheme is the 26th of April 2006.

Action Earth
Action Earth is a campaign co-ordinated by Community Service Volunteers (CSV) and sponsored by Scottish Natural Heritage. The purpose of the campaign is to enable people to take part in practical conservation projects and empower them to improve quality of life for themselves, their communities and future generations. This year, Action Earth is particularly keen to hear from young adults in both rural and urban settings.
Amount - groups who want to plant trees, repair paths or collect litter are eligible to receive a 50 grant to buy seeds, plants and tools for their project or to help with running costs.
Contact - http://www.actionearth.org.uk/home.php 
Deadline - there are 150 grants to give out in Scotland between now and June. Apply early!

Sustainable Development Strategy
Projects will need to further the objectives of Choosing our future - Scotland's Sustainable Development Strategy, in particular through one or more of the following priorities:
Sustainable consumption and production, including reducing the inefficient use of resources;
Climate change and energy, securing a profound change in the way we generate and use energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
Natural resource protection and environmental enhancement, protecting natural resources, building a better understanding of environmental limits, and improving the quality of the environment;
Sustainable communities, creating communities that embody the principles of sustainable development locally, improving the quality of life of individuals and communities, securing environmental justice for those who suffer the worst local environments;
Learning for sustainable development, ensuring people have the knowledge, awareness and skills to play their part in contributing towards any of the objectives above, whether through the formal education system, opportunities for lifelong learning, supporting citizens' involvement in sustainable decision-making, or finding ways of communicating sustainable development messages clearly and compellingly.
Criteria - projects must be either national or regional (which can include a whole local authority area).
Amount - 750k over three years with a maximum of around 40k per project.
Contact - to discuss your ideas contact Mark Stirling, Scottish Executive, Tel: 0131 244 0395. E-mail: sustainable.development@scotland.gsi.gov.uk  and get application forms from www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Environment/SustainableDevelopment/SAGguidance 
Deadline - 17 March 2006

The Community Environmental Renewal Scheme
The Community Environmental Renewal Scheme (CERS) offers support for community based projects that will improve the local environment of communities affected by quarrying. CERS offers grants of up to 100,000 to projects that involve the local community and can demonstrate local social or economic benefits. To be eligible for funding a project must demonstrate that it is addressing some impact of quarrying activity. Final round deadline 26 April 2006.

Info: http://www.forward-scotland.org.uk/funding

See also NHFT Forum in News above.

11. Big willow event at Brahan
Brahan Estate, near Dingwall, Ross and Cromarty has been the venue all of this month for the Big Willow event being run by the Scottish Basketmakers Circle with workshops with some of the most experienced basketmakers in the country. There is still much to happen in the remainder of the event including the opportunity to view the creation of the new work by internationally acclaimed artist, Patrick Dougherty. In residence at Brahan for the month of May, Patrick will be creating a sculpture using willow from the estate.  www.scottishbasketmakerscircle.org  for more information on the project.

Woodland Walks
12. Woodland events for your diaries for May/June

Woodland Walks: East Sutherland
Weds 7th June. Pine wood flowers. Grade A
A walk to examine the rare woodland wildflowers of Loch Fleet National nature Reserve.
Meet at Balblair Woods entrance, Loch Fleet Grid ref NH 815 977
Contact: Ian Paterson, Countryside Ranger, Ferrycroft Countryside Centre, Lairg, IV27 4AZ Tel/Fax: 01549 402 638 or ian.paterson@highland.gov.uk

Woodland walks: West Caithness
Sunday 11th june
Woodland creations
Sculpture day in Dunnet forest
Allow you artisitic flair to show by making art and sculpture in Dunnet Forest,. This is geared for any age and families but under 8 year must have an adult with them
Meet carpark Dunnet forest 10.30 am
Lasts all day so bring lunch. Also bring gloves and any tools that will help you .
Please Book

Saturday 17th june
Rumster forest
Forest , family event
Details of this joint event run with forest enterprise will follow
Contact: Mary Legg,
Senior Countryside Ranger, Caithness 01847 821531 or 07748574651 mary.legg@highland.gov.uk

Woodland Walks: East Caithness
Sunday 28th May
"Snazzy Snaps" - Grade B
Ever wondered how to take a great natural history or landscape photograph? Our outdoor studio will be the beautiful area of Dunbeath where a wealth of wildlife and stunning scenery awaits to be captured on film. Learn about the wildlife while local photographer, Ken Crossan, discusses helpful hints to make those special shots. Be inspired by an introductory illustrated presentation by Ken which will set the scene and aim of the day. Please bring along your own camera equipment and a packed lunch. Booking essential. Start time 10am, meeting at Dunbeath Heritage Centre (ND 162 294). Allow 4 hours. Cost 2 per person.

Monday 19th June
Latheronwheel - Monday Meander - Grade B
Explore the cliff top & woodland of beautiful Latheronwheel. Enjoy coastal scenery & sheltered woodland. Meet at 2pm at Latheronwheel harbour (ND 191 321). Allow 2 hours. Donations welcome.
Contact: Marina Swanson
East Caithness Countryside Ranger Bruce Building, Sinclair Terrace, Wick, Caithness, KW1 5AB Tel/fax: 01955 607758 Marina.Swanson@highland.gov.uk