Scotland's Forestry Strategy launched

5 February 2019

The Scottish Government has launched a new strategy that calls for tree planting and woodland creation and maintenance to become a "shared national endeavour".

Scotland’s Forestry Strategy sets out a 10-year approach to expand, protect and enhance Scotland’s forests and woodlands - delivering greater economic, social and environmental benefits for current and future generations.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus 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.

Mr Ewing noted that the strategy was being launched in the centenary year of public forestry in Scotland - and also signalled 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," he said.

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of 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.”

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.