Scotland’s rich and diverse natural environment is a national asset which contributes hugely to our economy and to our wider sense of wellbeing. Trees help to absorb carbon dioxide and store it as carbon.
Currently around 83 per cent of woodland planting in the UK takes place in Scotland, and we have planted approximately 16 million trees every year. In January 2017 we published a draft Climate Change Plan setting out a new target of raising tree-planting rates over time from 10,000 to 15,000 hectares a year by 2025. Read more about our Climate Change Plan here.
In government, we are supporting woodland creation and improvement through the Forestry Grant Scheme, and are committed to boosting the planting rate. Since the Scheme came into operation in October 2015, over £34 million has been approved for a range of projects, which includes 5,467 hectares of woodland creation. In October 2016, funding of £6.5 million was announced to plant 1200 hectares of new woodland across Scotland.
We will also support the planting of woodland which can help prevent flooding and assist in water basin management. We will also explore how public sector pension funds can invest in Scotland’s forestry and we will increase action on restoration of ancient woodlands. We are committed to keeping the Forestry Commission as an asset for the nation.