New initiative raises the profile of Scotland’s precious tree diversity

Scotland’s international role in tree conservation - and the colourful history of the plant collectors who helped shape our landscape – will be celebrated through the National Tree Collections of Scotland (NTCS) a new partnership project, led by Forestry Commission Scotland and supported by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).

Described as “Scotland’s national arboretum”, the NTCS will encourage public engagement with sites around the country – both well-known and relatively unheard of.  Information will also be provided to ensure visitors gain from the experience by learning a little more about individual collections, their history and their significance in the 21st century.

Dr David Rae, Director of Horticulture at RBGE, explained why it was important to support the Forestry Commission in this initiative: “While a few flagships, such as RBGE, are renowned for the breadth of their work, there are many more sites throughout Scotland – large and small – also contributing to the bank of living plant material that is crucial to the success of conservation projects at home and abroad.

“It is highly appropriate that, as well as RBGE’s headquarter site in Edinburgh, two of our Regional Gardens should also be participating from the outset. Dawyck, near Stobo, in the Scottish Borders is a world-renowned arboretum and Benmore, near Dunoon, on the Cowal Peninsula both holds an internationally renowned living collection and also neighbours other sites involved in the inauguration of NTCS.

“This project can play a significant part in improving public awareness of Scotland's tree collections. By encouraging members of the public to visit these special places and see the wonderful diversity of species from around the world, we can promote fresh understanding of the significance of our woodlands and gardens”.

NTCS was officially launched by Environment & Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson at Scone Palace Forest Festival on Saturday, June 18.

For more information about the National Tree Collections of Scotland visit www.ntcs.org.uk

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)