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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

SCOTLAND’S FOREST COVER ALMOST BACK TO 1,000 AD LEVEL


Data by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations shows that Scotland’s share of land covered by forest has reached 18% compared to only 5% in 1900 and around 20% a millennium ago.


However, Scotland still has much less woodland cover than many other European nations.


The SNP Government’s Draft Climate Change Plan, published in January 2017, sought to rectify this by proposing specific targets for future woodland expansion to cover 21% of Scotland by 2032.


To deliver this, the draft plan proposes that the rate of new afforestation rise to 15,000 hectares per year by 2024.


Scottish Ministers increased public investment through, for example, the Nature Restoration Fund, but a significant increase in private funding is also needed to tackle the twin nature and climate crises.


Woodland development incentives should only be provided in ways that most benefit society. This includes the Woodland Creation Scheme at Munnoch Farm, Dalry, comprised of 80,000 young trees and created four years ago on former grazing land.


NatureScot is partnering in an investment pilot to restore native woodland, create new jobs and support rural communities.


If successful, the pilot could unlock investment in natural capital, with the aim of reducing emissions and restoring biodiversity through landscape-scale projects.


Woodland creation could include around 185,000 hectares of native woodland and sequester 28 million tonnes of CO2 over the next 30 years.


The full dataset can be accessed here:




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