New face leads forestry team

Keith Muir with trees

Keith Muir has joined Davidson & Robertson as Associate Director, heading an expanding forestry team.

With growing interest in woodland, management and diversification in the forestry industry, directors at Davidson & Robertson – rural surveyors and consultants, looked to strengthen their forestry team with a senior appointment to meet the demands from clients. Keith Muir has been newly appointed.

With 25 years of experience in woodland planting, management and diversification Keith has joined D&R as Associate Director.

Keith will focus on advising clients, helping them find the right balance to maintain their land-based businesses and is also keen to grow and mentor the D&R team.

Commenting on his appointment, Niall Milner, Director heading property and forestry services at D&R said “We’re delighted to welcome Keith who has extensive and very rounded experience in the forestry industry, from managing large woodlands to having an eye on the timber market, the future for carbon codes biodiversity, and diversification.

“We know he will be a real asset for landowners and managers looking to their future, wanting to do something that will make a difference and still reap the benefits.”

Following his HND in horticulture, Keith travelled extensively around Australia and New Zealand before returning home to pursue a career in forestry. He gained practical experience in Ross-shire with Forest Enterprise Scotland before obtaining an HND in forestry at the UK’s number one forestry college – the Inverness School of Forestry.

As Assistant Forester at the Cawdor Estate, Keith gained valuable commercial experience before moving to Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) as a Forester in Fort William where he worked on numerous projects for seven years.  These included managing the   100,000 cubic meter Standing Sale programme in Fort William and managing a Heritage Lottery-funded project to restore and maintain Atlantic Oak woodlands on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula.

Commenting on the project Keith said “These ancient Atlantic Oak woodlands had been used historically as a source for charcoal, and then planted with non-native, faster growing conifers in the 1970’s. We carefully set about clearing the conifers in a very managed way so as not to disrupt habitats and ecosystems. We also had to adapt to the needs of tourism and recreation, laying forest trails, and building wildlife hides that are still in use, as well as extensive fencing to protect and allow natural regeneration to take place. There were also social objectives associated with managing a project of this scale & importance.”

Keith’s specialist skills in access and diversification were the catalyst for a move and promotion to manage the Galloway Forest Park in 2004.  The park had been in existence since 1947 but had not fully developed its potential.

Tasked with increasing footfall and establishing it as a must-see destination, Keith managed the 97,000 hectare forest which included 300 miles of mixed biking and walking trails, rebuilding three visitors’ centres, and creating Europe’s first dark sky park.

In 2019 Keith moved within FCS to a new role as Business Manager for south of Scotland, looking after compliance and finance for a massive programme of work. Keith said, “This region is the most productive woodland area in the UK with over 1 million tonnes of timber felled each year and really tied up the full circle of forestry experience.”

An eye for building diversity and providing a longer-term legacy, Keith had a spell earlier this year as Head of Technical Services and UK site Manager for start-up company – The Future Forest Company, which looks at sequestering carbon and longer-term biodiversity.

He moved to D&R in the autumn to head the forestry team, commenting “what really appealed about D&R is it feels like a family-led company that puts client needs first. It is a place where I can work closely with clients to make a real difference.

“I have a family and want them to have a future, so it’s not just about planting and managing woodlands, it’s more about wide ranging diversity; wetlands, ground flora, woodland and peat – and I think there’s real scope for that with D&R clients.

“Land managers are all passionate about what they want their farms and estates to do, and they are generally very good custodians of their land. Many already have great biodiversity, so our role is to look at what we can do to help them to improve it for the longer term. It’s about finding the best way forward to make it financially viable and opening up opportunities for the future.”

Keith is supported by Archie Dodds as Forestry Manager and Eilidh Smith as Graduate Forester.

Whilst he is very passionate about trees and woodlands – he only recently discovered the origin of the name Keith,  meaning lover of trees and woods.  His career was marked out for him at an early age! For more information about forestry and woodland opportunities, contact Keith on 07379 495 517 or email


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