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Saturday, July 20, 2024

High Levels of Woodland Creation Recorded in Scotland

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Official statistics published today (20 June) have revealed that Scotland has created the highest number of new woodlands for 34 years.

The figures also show that nearly 75% of all new woodlands throughout the UK were established in Scotland last year.

During 2023/4 a total of 15,000 hectares (ha) of new woodland – roughly 30 million trees – were created in Scotland, which is more than an 80% jump from the year before.

The statistics also reveal the highest level of new native woodland since 2001, with 7,700 hectares being created.

This is more than twice the previous year (2,900 ha) and makes up half of the total area of new woodland in Scotland.

The statistics demonstrate that Scotland’s public and private forestry sectors have pulled out all the stops to work together and achieve this record result.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon welcomed the figures, saying:

“This is quite a remarkable achievement and very positive news.

“There has been a tremendous amount of hard work to bring us these welcome figures.

“We need to give credit to all those who helped get the trees in the ground – this includes Scottish Forestry’s staff, woodland owners large and small, farmers, crofters, Forestry and Land Scotland, nurseries, forestry companies and their agents, and all those who actually did the planting.

“The figures are a perfect example of what can be achieved by working in partnership for the benefit of Scotland.

“I’d like to congratulate everyone involved.”

The new statistics show that England planted 4,550 ha, Wales 640 ha and Northern Ireland 430 ha.

This means that Scotland has created 73% (15,040 ha) of all new woodlands in the UK and met 90% of its ambitious woodland creation target of 16,500 ha for 2023/24.

There were 300 separate woodland creation projects in Scotland last year and around half were taken forward by farmers, crofters or other small scale landowners.

Last June, when a dip in woodland creation levels were recorded, Scottish Forestry introduced a package of new measures to help raise woodland planting.

This resulted in the biggest change to the Forestry Grant Scheme since it began back in 2015, and included grant rate increases, new or improved grant options and the speeding up of processing applications for new woodlands.

Woodland creation targets in Scotland are very ambitious and have been increasing year on year since 2020/1 at 12,000 ha rising to 18,000 ha in 24/25.

Around 83,000 hectares (166 million trees) of new woodland have been created in Scotland since the Forestry Grant Scheme was established back in 2015, with 34,600  hectares being native woodland.

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