Safeguarding Scotland’s forests and woodlands is the top priority for James Nott, who has taken up the role of Head of Tree Health with Scottish Forestry.

Heading up a team of ten tree health experts, Mr Nott will now lead on the development of tree health policy in Scotland. His responsibilities will include providing advice and the strategic co-ordination of tree health policies. In partnership with the forest industries, he will also work to ensure forests and woodlands remain resilient and adaptable for the future.

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Mr Nott previously worked as Scottish Forestry’s Grampian Conservator, responsible for forestry policy, regulation and providing support to the region. He has also worked within Scottish Forestry’s grants team and before joining the forestry sector, was a serving member of the armed forces.

“Safeguarding the health of Scotland’s trees is vital for our futures," he said. "Our forests and woodlands provide multiple benefits for the environment, economy and for people’s social and well-being.

“Our forests are also making a significant contribution towards tackling the current climate emergency by soaking up millions of tonnes of harmful CO2 emissions from the atmosphere.

“If we want to continue achieving all of these important benefits, we need to ensure our forests and woodlands are kept healthy and are resilient to possible future pests and diseases.”

With an increasing number of people using woodlands for recreation, James is keen to raise awareness that everyone must play a part in protecting woodlands: ”Tree pests and diseases can hitch a ride in mud and debris on shoes, tyres, outdoor kit and on dogs’ paws. Unfortunately this diseased debris can then be unwittingly transferred to other forests. We need to brush down all this debris before and after we visit a forest.”

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The public can also tackle the spread of tree pests and diseases by reporting diseased trees on the TreeAlert. website.