New Forestry Strategy sets out long term vision

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, today launched a new Strategy that will help to secure the long-term success and sustainability of Scotland’s forestry sector.

Scotland’s Forestry Strategy sets out the government’s approach over the next 10 years to expand, protect and enhance Scotland’s forests and woodlands.

The strategy seeks to deliver greater economic, social and environmental benefits for current and future generations.

Mr Ewing said;

“We can be rightly proud in Scotland of our track record on planting and maintaining trees and forests. Already, Scotland is responsible for nearly 80 per cent of new trees planted in the UK and forestry is a £1billion industry supporting 25,000 jobs all across Scotland. Our woodlands soak up 12 million tonnes of CO2 each year and at the same time, thousands of visitors enjoy health and social benefits from these fantastic natural assets, with over 200 community groups now involved in working with local woodlands.

“I am determined that we build on this success. Tree planting and woodland creation and maintenance must become a shared national endeavour. The strategy sets out key objectives for the next ten years and will serve as a framework for everyone who wants to develop Scotland’s modern, dynamic forestry sector.

“The strategy is being launched as we mark 100 years of public forestry in Scotland, celebrate the benefits achieved for habitats, wildlife, communities, people and businesses during that time.  It also signals the future, with devolution of forestry functions being completed and two new agencies being established.  We have significant aspirations for forestry in Scotland- this strategy will help to deliver those.”

Developed in full consultation with a broad range of organisations, it has three 10-year objectives for Scotland’s forests and woodlands:

  • to increase their contribution of forests and woodlands to Scotland’s sustainable and inclusive economic growth; 
  • to improve their resilience and contribution to a healthy and high quality environment; and 
  • to increase their use to enable more people to improve their health, well-being and life chances. An implementation, monitoring and reporting Framework will be developed to co-ordinate delivery and measure progress in implementing the new Strategy. A national stakeholder group will also be established to advise on and support the delivery of the Strategy.

The Strategy is a key element of the new, fully devolved arrangements for forestry in Scotland underpinned by the 2018 Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act, the first forestry Act passed by the Scottish Parliament.

Additional Quotes:

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of leading sector body Confor, said;

There is an exciting future ahead for Scotland’s forestry and timber sector. It can help in the fight against climate change and provides opportunities to diversify rural economies. 

“The sector has grown rapidly in the last 30 years and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government and other sectors in Scotland to realise further sustainable growth in the coming years and decades.”

Jon Hollingdale, CWA CEO, said:

“The Community Woodlands Association welcomes the launch of Scotland’s Forestry Strategy which should facilitate the continued growth and development of Scotland’s community woodland sector, delivering a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits and supporting the empowerment of local communities”

Woodland Trust Scotland Director, Carol Evans, said:

“Woods and trees are at the heart of what makes Scotland’s landscape and environment truly special. This new strategy should help all of us better manage and maintain our existing woodland. It should also ensure that we are planting enough native trees in the right places to look after the wildlife that depends on them, and to meet our national biodiversity targets.

“We are grateful to Forestry Commission Scotland for acting on what they heard during their consultation on the strategy. The new implementation framework should make it clear exactly how to make the strategy’s vision a reality, and the new national stakeholder group will definitely provide invaluable support for everyone working to deliver the strategy’s outcomes.

“Throughout the process we were struck that this was a genuine, open and honest consultation and the Scottish Government listened and engaged with the feedback they received.”

Sarah-Jane Laing, Executive Director of Scottish Land & Estates

“SLE welcomes and supports all efforts to promote and develop sustainable forestry which provides significant environmental, social and economic benefits throughout Scotland. A long-term approach to forestry is absolutely vital and we look forward to seeing this form part of a wider integrated land use strategy.”

Tim Liddon, Forestry Director, Tilhill Forestry:

“We welcome the prompt launch of the Scottish Forestry Strategy bringing with it positive political support from the Scottish Government.

“The Strategy clearly recognises the very significant role that forestry plays in today’s evermore complex and environmentally aware world. The Strategy strongly supports not only the role that planting trees play in climate change mitigation but also that the forest industry can help maximise the opportunities in rural Scotland for a strong rural economy.  

“Tilhill Forestry look forward to working with the Scottish Government to deliver this vision.”