Cairngorms National Park

Balancing commercial timber harvesting with environmental constraints


Bell Ingram has been managing a commercial woodland on the Cairngorms National Park, near Grantown-on-Spey, since 2011. Although timber production is the main objective, all harvesting operations have to take account of the rare flora and fauna species (specifically Twin Flower and Pine Hoverfly) within the woodland, as thinning intensity and coup sizes may have a dramatic effect on their survival. Forest managers have also been tasked with reinstating paths through the woodland after harvesting and installing new signage, gates and path network route information.


Balancing commercial timber harvesting with environmental constraints can throw up unique challenges for forest managers who are operating on sites contained within national park boundaries. In this instance, close consultation with SNH, RSPB, Plantlife Scotland and the Cairngorms National Park continues to be paramount in co-ordinating management and harvesting techniques and timing of operations.


The forest has won a number of plaudits including a Scotland’s Finest Woods Award. The site also hosted a seminar attended by representatives from the forest industry and environmental agencies to demonstrate good harvesting practices in relation to biodiversity. Going forward, close collaboration with local and national government agencies is the key to growing and harvesting good quality timber on this especially sensitive woodland site.