Two local politicians are highlighting contrasting initiatives which are designed to promote tree planting at home and protect tropical rainforests overseas.
Conservation charity The Woodland Trust is making free trees available to local schools and communities with the aim of creating new hedges and woodland habits to encourage a diversity of wildlife.
Meanwhile, the UK Government is introducing legislation designed to clamp down on illegal deforestation and protect rainforests overseas, supporting efforts to ensure that the supply chain of larger companies is free of illegally harvested timber from the world’s remaining rainforests.
Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said: “While these two initiatives could scarcely be more different, they share the common objective of focusing attention on the vital contribution made by trees and woodlands to a healthy environment.
“By encouraging people - especially children - to plant trees in their local areas, the Woodland Trust scheme is providing an imaginative way of helping communities to improve their own environment.
“The UK Government initiative is designed to ensure that UK consumers are not unwittingly contributing to the loss of some of the world’s most important natural habitats, which act as the lungs of our planet.
“Together they show that we can all play our part in protecting and enhancing the environment at home and, through the Government’s action, abroad.
Councillor Claire Feaver, a member of Moray Council, commented; “Moray has one of the highest levels of forest cover in Scotland already, but much of that is commercial plantations, and there is plenty of scope to increase more wildlife-friendly woodlands, so I welcome the Woodland Trust scheme..
“It would be really good to see local schools taking part, and I know that a lot of our teachers are doing great work engaging children with environmental projects, so hopefully they may feel able to take advantage of the scheme.
“In terms of more ambitious planting schemes, it is always worthwhile speaking to the Council’s planning team about our guidance when it comes to land use and I would be happy to point anyone interested in the right direction.”