North East to Pilot Forestry Machinery Ring Scheme

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A MACHINERY ring service pilot scheme is being introduced to help farmers improve woodland management while avoiding the capital outlay to buy and maintain bespoke machinery and specialist labour.

The initiative is a partnership between Forestry Commission Scotland and Ringlink Scotland which will run until March 2012.

Jim Dewar, Forestry Commission Scotland, explained; “There are many reasons trees can be valuable assets and complement core farm business. We are aware that many farmers already have potential revenue generating woodlands or have unproductive marginal land that is ideal for tree planting.

“We also recognise that for financial reasons many are being put off by the perceived costs of managing their woodland efficiently. We hope that this machinery ring project will help break down some of those barriers.”

Graham Bruce, Ringlink (Scotland) Ltd added: “Machinery rings are a tried and tested concept that are familiar to farmers. We are constantly seeking ways to enhance the services we provide for our members.

“This pilot initiative adds a new dimension to our service portfolio which, if successful, could be rolled out to other machinery rings across Scotland.”

Well managed woodland can benefit farmers by offering a potential increase in the amount of ‘productive’ land, provide effective shelter for livestock and crops and gives the farmer the ability to produce woodfuel and timber for use on-site, or to sell, among others.

Other possibilities are the creation of sporting amenities and carbon sequestration.