Lead forester at Galbraith, Louise Alexander has completed her qualifications with the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) to become a full chartered forester, MICFor.
Alexander, who is based at the company’s Inverness office, has been working towards the title for two years.
The forestry department at Galbraith has grown from four foresters in 2015 to now having a dedicated team of seven based between its Inverness and Perth offices.
Alexander, who has been working in the Highland forestry sector for over nine years, joined the team at Galbraith three years ago, and provides advice on all woodland management issues with a particular emphasis on woodland creation and specialist tree surveys.
“Forestry is a very interesting sector to work in. Timber prices are holding strong and commercial forestry continues to outperform other asset classes,” she said. “The best woodlands are generating returns in excess of 10% however, there are still very few investors active in the market with Brexit making people even more hesitant of entering forestry.
“The Scottish Government’s Forestry Grant Scheme offers financial support for the creation of new woodland and the sustainable management of existing woodland. Many would-be-investors and small-scale landowners are unsure of what is available to them and we would encourage those considering their options to seek professional help and to get into the system now before Brexit as it is unclear at this stage what will happen to forestry grants post-Brexit.”
Alexander is currently advising clients on new forestry planting projects spanning in excess of 800 hectares across the north and west of Scotland including an area near Loch Ness.
The project covers over 130 hectares of previously under-utilised hill ground and the estate is planting a mixed commercial and native woodland to provide a sustainable timber supply and future income while protecting the natural features and wildlife present.
“Another area where I am witnessing increased activity is in woodland carbon capture projects. This is where investors are adding value to planted land by quantifying and verifying the volume of carbon captured by new woodland planting,” she added. “This enables the subsequent trading of the carbon asset for offset of carbon emissions by industry and is an attractive option to woodland investors who can benefit from the additional income from trading woodland carbon units. The new planting site at Loch Ness could produce an additional income of over £180,000 over 45 years through the sale of the carbon credits alone, so it is an important revenue stream to consider.”