The felling is to remove trees that are infected with Phytophthora ramorum, a disease which has badly affected larch in the south west of Scotland for several years.
The removal of infected trees and those surrounding them helps to minimise and slow down the spread of the disease.
Works at Ae Forest will commence within the next few weeks and will be carried out by the end of February 2018. Some preventative felling will also take place in Mabie Forest during December and also finish towards the end of February.
Public information notices, details of works and trail closures will be regularly updated and posted on site.
Sallie Bailey, District Manager in Dumfries and Borders Forest District, said;
“We know that the temporary restrictions will cause some inconvenience to visitors, but we need to undertake this important work as soon as possible.
“The felling is legally required to help minimise and slow down the spread of the disease. We will carry it out as quick as possible and ensure the public are kept updated on any diversions or closures of trails.
“Although the felling will have a visual impact on the landscape, there is a positive message too. The felling will give us the opportunity to improve the overall design of the forest and make it more resilient for future years. The affected areas will also be replanted as soon as possible.
”I would like to thank the public for their patience whilst the felling work continues.”
Ae and Mabie forests are FES’s most popular recreation sites in the region - with 7Stanes mountain bike trails as well as walking routes. Some trails may have to be closed and or diverted whilst works are ongoing.
Visitors are urged to make themselves aware of the ‘Keep it Clean’ campaign, which asks that, before arriving, visitors clean their boots, bike tyres and any kit that they are bringing. Pets’ paws should also be cleaned before walking in the forest.
The cleaning is needed as tree pests and diseases can travel from one forest to another in mud and forest debris. Taking a few minutes to clean up can make a big difference to the health of forests and woodlands.
Alternative Forest destinations for visitors could include The Hills, Dalbeattie and Heathhall, all of which are unaffected by the works.
Visitors should check trail updates online ahead of their trip.