Forests and woodlands are a natural powerhouse and among Scotland’s most valuable rural assets. Our ambition is for them to expand and flourish.
Growing our forests is also key to tackling the climate emergency we are facing. Currently, around 12 million tonnes of CO2 are absorbed by Scotland’s forests every year, and increasing the size of our forests and woodlands means we can store even more greenhouse gases.
We have smashed our yearly 10,000 hectare national tree planting target with 11,200 hectares of new woodland planted in a year – that’s around 22 million trees. And as part of our climate change commitments, the Scottish Government has increased planting targets for the future, rising to 15,000 hectares each year by 2025. This boost will not only help us capture more CO2 emissions but will strengthen the economy too.
Our forest industry contributes over £1 billion each year to our economy and supports around 25,000 jobs. The forestry industry has the full backing of the Scottish Government, demonstrated through the new National Forestry Strategy and backed up with £20 million investment to plant trees in Scotland’s national forests.
Currently around 84 per cent of woodland planting in the UK takes place in Scotland, showing our commitment to reversing the historic decline in woodland creation. We are supporting woodland creation and improvement through the Forestry Grant Scheme, and are committed to boosting the planting rate in the forestry sector. In particular, we will support the planting of woodland which can help prevent flooding and assist in water basin management.