Woodland managers tackling the many windblown trees left in the wake of Storm Arwen should benefit from cross-sector cooperation to 'fast-track' the paperwork around Felling Permissions and Forest Management Plans.

Working together, Scottish Forestry, Confor and Forestry and Land Scotland are now busy assessing the impact of the storm, and planning the recovery of at least 4000 hectares of woodland that has been affected.

Read more: Farmers face major clean-up in aftermath of Storm Arwen

The most serious damage to Scotland’s woodlands runs down the east coast, across the Borders and East Lothian, stretching into Galloway. Another swathe of damage runs through Banffshire, Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire, Angus and into Perthshire.

Environment Minister Màiri McAllan said: “Storm Arwen provided a salutary lesson of the power of nature and the challenge of climate change. Our people suffered and so, too, did our natural environment.

“The impact is evident in the distressing images of flattened forests and woodlands which will take decades, if not centuries to recover from. Their loss reminds us of the significant role trees play in our lives, communities, economy and wellbeing.

“Behind this is a monumental clear up operation which is being undertaken by large and small woodland owners," said the minister. "Whilst this is being carried out, the message to the public is not to enter into affected forests until they are made safe.

“Forestry might be a long term business, but getting to grips with managing the windblown timber has already begun. As more accurate information becomes available, Scotland’s forest industry will be taking decisions on handling the extra volumes of timber that needs to be harvested. Through Scottish Forestry, advice, information and assistance is being made available to woodland owners and the forestry sector to help manage the aftermath of Storm Arwen.”

A new mapping tool, developed by Forest Research and Scottish Forestry, will be invaluable in this recovery process, using satellite data to get an initial understanding of where the damage has occurred, without the immediate need for potentially risky site visits. More work is being carried out to put accurate estimates on the amount of hectares and volume of timber affected.

Andy Leitch, the deputy chief executive of Confor, the trade body for forestry and wood-using companies, said: "With new information emerging every day about the impact of Storm Arwen – from satellite data, localised aerial surveys and on-ground observation – it is vital that the industry and the public forestry bodies work together as closely as possible.

Read more: Stop and think before clearing trees in wake of storms

"The most effective way to ensure windblown trees are removed safely and quickly is to share information, identify opportunities for joint approaches – and deploy resources where they are most needed.

“The clean-up after the storm – and the work needed to remove the windblown timber, make safe the remaining trees and get the timber to wood processors – will take time and effort. However, Confor is fully committed to working in partnership with the public forestry bodies to make that happen in a speedy and efficient manner."

FLS began discussions with its timber customers straight after Storm Arwen hit to determine market availability, volume requirements and species demand. Most of the trees that have been flattened will be removed over the next year and sent to wood processors across Scotland. In time, the forests will be replanted.