Forestry Commission Scotland has welcomed a land-use review in the country as an opportunity to promote woodlands’ role in future society.

Richard Lochhead, cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment, announced the land-use review last week as a means to see how Scotland couldl best use its rural land resources to create energy, produce food and support rural economies.

Initially 70 experts will gather to discuss the matter in autumn this year, with a wider group of experts to attend a land-use summit in the second half of 2009.

Bob McIntosh, director of Forestry Commission Scotland, said the organisation was already playing a large part in the effective use of Scotland’s rural landscape, offering a tool against climate change, space for wind energy projects and providing prosperity for rural communities.

“The national forest estate covers around an eighth of Scotland’s land mass and has an important contribution to make to many areas of Scottish life,” said Mr McIntosh. “[The summit] will provide an excellent opportunity to debate the role that woodland expansion should play in contributing to the development of the rural economy, environment and communities.”

In between the two meetings work on the land-use review will be carried forward by a series of working groups overseen by academics, land managers and other land-use organisations.