The future direction of Scotland’s woods and forests will be discussed in a newly-launched public consultation exercise.

The 12-week consultation, set in motion by the country’s environment and development minister Ross Finnie at the Royal Highland Show, reviews the five-year-old Scottish Forestry Strategy.

Mr Finnie said the review came at an important time for the rural land-use sector, with new rural development regulation and a land management contract concept both being developed.

He said emerging roles for forestry had grown in significance during the period of the current strategy, including forests’ role in negating the effects of climate change and their role in health promotion and education.

A second period of consultation will be held after a new draft strategy is published. The final strategy will launched in mid-2006.