Felling and restocking regulations: strategic environmental assessment

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) to accompany the consultation on the regulation of felling and restocking in 2018.

Appendix D: Relevant Baseline Information

Environmental Topic

Baseline Information

Key Data



Biodiversity, flora, and fauna

Forest and woodland cover (2017)

1 440 000ha (18% of Scotland's land area)

forest and woodland cover has increased over the 20 th century from 351 000ha in 1905 to 656 000ha in 1965 to 1 281 000ha in 1995-99

Forestry Commission - Forestry Statistics 2017

New planting (2016-2017)

4 800ha planted (73% of UK total amount)

new planting has decreased since 2012-2013 (7 000ha)

see above

New planting by ownership (2016-2017)

1 100ha Forestry Commission

private sector new planting has decreased ( e.g. 6 200ha in 2012-2013) but has remained greater than Forestry Commission new planting ( e.g. 800ha in 2012-2013)

see above

3 700ha private sector

New planting by forest type (2016-2017)

3 200ha conifers

broadleaf planting has decreased considerably to become less extensive than conifer planting, which has increased

see above

1 500ha broadleaves

Woodland area by ownership (2017)

470 000ha (33%) owned by FC; 970 000ha (67%) owned by the private sector

these proportions have been fairly stable since 2013

see above

Species composition (2017)

74% conifers (1 061 000ha)

no trend data available

see above

26% broadleaved species (378 000ha)

Native woodland cover (2013)

319 100ha (22.5% of Scotland's total woodland area as of March 2011 and roughly 4.0% of Scotland's total land area)

native woodland cover decreased during the 20 th century but began to recover after 1985 in response to policy changes

Forestry Commission - Native Woodland Survey of Scotland; SNH - Natural Heritage Trends - Forest and woodland: native woodland

Condition (2013)

46% found to be in satisfactory condition

overall, conditions are stable or declining, with some areas exhibiting improvements and others declining

see above; Scotland's Environment – Woodlands and forests

Ancient woodland cover (2013)

120 305ha (65%/64 130ha of these ancient woodlands qualify as native woodland, comprising 20.6% of native woods in total and just 4.6% of all woodlands in Scotland)

as compared to previous surveys ( i.e. Scottish Ancient Woodland Inventory), ancient woodland cover appears to have decreased

see above

Condition (2013)

40% found to be in satisfactory condition

no trend data available

see above

Scotland Biodiversity List woodland habitats

lowland mixed deciduous, native pine woodlands, upland birchwoods, upland mixed ashwoods, upland oakwood, wet woodland, wood pasture and parkland

Scottish Government - Scottish Biodiversity List

Designated protected areas (2016)

1 423 Sites of Special Scientific Interest ( SSSI), 51 Ramsar sites, 153 Special Protection Areas ( SPAs), 249 Special Areas of Conservation ( SAC)


SNH - Protected areas

Condition of notified species National Indicator ( SSSI, Ramsar, SPA, SAC) (2016)

71% of all species features were in favourable condition; 3% were unfavourable recovering; 3% were unfavourable with corrective measures agreed; and 24% were in an unfavourable condition

the percentage of species features that were favourable or unfavourable recovering were:

  • 88% of terrestrial mammals; 72% of birds;
  • 76% of fish; 57% of marine mammals; 50% of amphibians and reptiles;
  • 100% dragonflies; 87% of butterflies; 82% of other invertebrates; and
  • 82% of vascular plants; 65% of non-vascular plants

considered to be in stable condition

SNH Biodiversity Indicator S010 – Condition of notified species

Condition of notified habitats national indicator ( SSSI, Ramsar, SPA, SAC) (2016)

53% of woodlands were favourable/unfavourable recovering

considered to be in stable condition

SNH Biodiversity Indicator S011 – Condition of notified habitats

Index of abundance of terrestrial breeding birds national indicator (woodland species) (2014)


this figure reflects a significant increase (63%) since 1994

SNH Biodiversity Indicator S003 – Abundance of terrestrial breeding birds



in general, Scotland's soils are young, acidic, carbon rich, and nutrient poor compared to those found elsewhere in UK and mainland Europe


SEPA - Making the Case for the Environment: Soil

Condition (2014)

Scotland's soils are considered to be in good condition

no trend data available

Scotland's Environment - State and Trend Assessment

Main soil types

podzols (associated with coniferous woodland), brown earths (associated with semi-natural woodlands to the west), gleys, organic peat soils


The James Hutton Institute - Soils - Introduction

Spatial extent of peat soils (2015)

peat soils cover 22% of Scotland's land area, mostly to the north and on the islands of Lewis and Shetland


SEPA - Making the Case for the Environment: Soil

Condition of peat soils (2018)

it is estimated that over 80% of peat soils are degraded

certain peat soils are considered to be improving due to focused restoration efforts

Scotland's Soils - Peatland Restoration; ClimateXChange - NB22a Peatland restoration area

Carbon uptake by peat soils (2018)

estimated at 0.018 Mt CO 2e/year

by 2027, carbon uptake by peat soils could increase to 1.5-5.4 Mt CO 2e/year if all degraded peatlands were immediately restored

ClimateXChange – Soil Carbon and Land Use in Scotland

Soil carbon storage (2011)

3 000 million tonnes (roughly 50% of the UK total)

this figure has remained relatively stable over time, although there may be small changes in individual land use categories over short time periods

see above


Water bodies in Scotland

125 000km of river, 25 500 lochs (2 000km 2), 49 estuaries (1 000km 2), 19 000 km of coastline (48 000km 2), and 462 000km 2 of offshore waters; additionally, significant volumes of groundwater (greater than rivers and lochs combined)


Key Scottish Environment Statistics 2016; BGS/SEPA - Scotland's aquifers and groundwater bodies

Condition (2014)

Rivers: nearly half now reported as being in good condition or better

conditions are considered to be stable or improving

Scotland's Environment - State and Trend Assessment

Lochs: almost two-thirds are in good or high condition

conditions are considered to be stable or improving

Estuaries: 85% are in good or high environmental condition

conditions are considered to be improving

Coastal waters: 97% are in good or high condition

conditions are considered to be stable or declining

Groundwater: more than 80% in good condition

no trend data available

Flood risk (2015)

1 in 22 homes and 1 in 13 businesses are at risk from flooding

episodes of flooding are expected to become more common and severe in response to climate change

SEPA - Flood risk management in Scotland; Committee on Climate Change - Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme: An independent assessment for the Scottish Parliamen

Climatic factors

Greenhouse gas emissions* ( EU ETS adjusted) (2015)

* includes carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide (1990 baseline) and hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride (1995 baseline)

45.5 MtCO 2e

41.0% reduction from 1990/1995 baseline

Scottish Government - Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2015

Greenhouse gas emissions by forestry sector (2015)

-7.0 MtCO 2e ( i.e. net emissions removal)

absorption by forestry is likely to fall over the coming decades due to low planting and forests maturing

see above; SPICe - Scottish Forestry

Mean annual temperature (2016)


in general, temperatures have been increasing; eight of the ten warmest years on record in Scotland have occurred since 2001; the average temperature in the 2000s was 0.90°C warmer than the 1961-1990 average and warmer than any other decade since records began in 1910

Scottish Government temperature data (Metadata: Met Office); Key Scottish Environment Statistics 2016 (Metadata: Met Office)

Mean annual precipitation (2015)

2015 was the second wettest year since records began in 1910 with precipitation recorded at 33.3% above the 1961-1990 baseline

records show an overall increase in rainfall since the 1980s over previous decades, but there is seasonal and regional variation

Key Scottish Environment Statistics 2016 (Metadata: Met Office)

Climate projections for Scotland

in general, projections suggest observed climate trends will continue and intensify in the future. These include:

  • projected increases in mean annual temperature by the 2080s for Scottish regions range from 1.6°C to 4.5°C, with central estimates between 2.6°C and 3.0°C;
  • drier summers and wetter winters;
  • more seasonal rainfall; and
  • increased risk of flood, drought, and extreme weather events

see above

Historic and cultural heritage

Condition (2014)

Scotland's historic environment is considered to be in moderate condition

conditions are considered to be stable

Scotland's Environment - State and Trend Assessment

Percentage of pre-1919 dwellings classified as having disrepair to critical elements national indicator (2016)


this is a reduction from a peak of 80% in 2012

Scottish Government - Improve the state of Scotland's historic sites National Indicator

Designations (2018)

6 World Heritage sites, 8 167 scheduled monuments, 377 gardens and designed landscapes, and 663 conservation areas


Historic Environment Scotland – Listing, scheduling and designations

Archaeological features associated with Scotland's woodlands

approximately 25 000


Forestry Commission Scotland – Scotland's woodlands and the historic environment

Examples of historical woodland features

wood banks, charcoal platforms, saw pits, park pale, ancient coppice stools, veteran trees


Forestry Commission – Archaeology OF wooded environments

Records of non-designated historic assets (2015)

320,000 records of historic assets. This is information on historic environment assets that are not necessarily nationally important or legally protected, but nonetheless contribute to Scotland's overall historic environment. Based on data in the Canmore database around 93% of archaeological sites and monuments recorded in Canmore are undesignated


Scotland's Environment - People and the environment historic environment

Material assets

Main types of land use (2014)

Agriculture (~70%), woodland (~18%), urban (~2.5%)

thousands of years ago, woodland cover was the dominant land use type; over time, this decreased to make way for agriculture, which today greatly surpasses all other types of land use, although agricultural land has decreased in area from 1982, likely due to woodland and urban expansion

Scotland's Environment – Land use and management

Key land-based industries

agriculture (crops and livestock), forestry, sporting ( e.g. deer management), food and drink, mining and aggregate extraction, energy, tourism


see above

Agricultural land use in Scotland (2016)

~50% rough grazing; ~25% grass; ~10% used for crops or left fallow; ~15% used for woodland, ponds, yards, or other uses

since 2000, these proportions have remained relatively stable; however, the NA2 Area of Prime Agricultural Land (Land Capability) Indicator suggests a long-term trend towards an increase in prime agricultural land in response to climate change ( e.g. warmer, drier summers)

Scottish Government – Agricultural Land Use in Scotland; Scottish Government Rural and Environment Analytical Services – Economic Trends in Scottish Agriculture; ClimateXChange – NA2 Area of Prime Agricultural Land (Land Capability) Indicator

Area of woodland on farms (2016)

502 400ha

woodland on farms has increased in area since 2007 (279 900ha)

Forestry Commission - Forestry Statistics 2017

Extent of built development landscape national indicator (2009)

122 498ha (1.55% of Scotland's land area)

no trend data available

SNH Landscape Indicator LBD1 – Extent of Built Development

Waste sent to landfill (2014)

4.02 million tonnes

42% reduction from 2005

Key Scottish Environment Statistics 2016 (Metadata: SEPA)

Amount of Biodegradable Municipal Waste ( BMW) sent to landfill (2014)

1.06 million tonnes

51% reduction from 2005

see above


Household waste recycling rate (2015)


increase from 42.8% in 2014

see above

Timber harvesting (2016)

8.4 million m 3

timber harvesting has increased relatively steadily over the past 35 years, with current volumes roughly seven times those of the late 1970s

Forestry Commission - Forestry Statistics 2017

Restocking in Scotland (2016-2017)



see above

Restocking by ownership (2016-2017)

6,700ha Forestry Commission


see above

4,400ha private sector

Restocking by forest type (2016-2017)

9,100ha conifers


see above

2,000ha broadleaves

Non-timber forest products

more than 200, including wild and managed game; berries, mushrooms, and other edible plants; medicinal plants; foliage, seeds, bark, and resins; dyes and craft materials


ForestHarvest website


Condition (2014)

Scotland's rocks and landforms considered to be in generally good condition

conditions are considered to be stable or declining

Scotland's Environment – Rocks and landforms


3 (10% of Scotland's total land area)


Wild land areas

42 (mostly in the north and west)


SNH - Wild Land Area descriptions

Area of National Landscape Designations national indicator (2016)

  • 25.2% (1,988,000ha) of land was covered by one or more form of landscape designation;
  • 17.5% (1,381,100ha) of land and sea was designated as National Scenic Area (13% of Scotland's land was designated as National Scenic Area, mostly found in more remote and mountainous areas).
  • 8.1% (639,100ha) of land was designated as National Parks;
  • 1.0% (76 500ha) of land was of Inventory of Gardens & Designed Landscapes status;
  • 0.3% (27,000ha) of land was of Battlefields Inventory status;
  • 0.2% (18,300ha) of land was of land was scheduled as Scheduled Monuments

increase from approximately 17% in 1996, due in large part to designation of Cairngorms and Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Parks

SNH Landscape Indicator LLQ1 0 Area of National Landscape Designations

Visual influence of built development national indicator* (2013)

* The components that make up this indicator are: Airfields; Major bridges; Extraction industries; Offshore surface structures;

Wind Turbines; Tall structures without wind turbines; Building density (low and high); Motorways; Trunk roads; Non trunk A roads; B Roads; Minor roads and tracks (all); Railways; Overhead lines

one or more types of built development could be seen from 73% (5,750,855ha) of Scotland's land area (7,880,880ha)

this represents an increase from 71.4% in 2012 and from 65.4% in 2008

SNH Natural Heritage Indicator N3 - Visual influence of built environment


Email: FutureForestry@gov.scot

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