Scotland's Forestry Strategy 2019–2029

Long-term framework for the expansion and sustainable management of Scotland's forests and woodland.


This Strategy provides an overview of contemporary Scottish forestry, presents our 50-year vision for Scotland’s forests and woodlands, and sets out a 10-year framework for action.

It places forestry policy at the heart of government, helping to deliver the aims of the National Performance Framework[1] (Figure 1), supporting the vision, objectives and principles of the Land Use Strategy[2], and building on the achievements of the previous strategy.

The Strategy is a keystone of our ambition for forestry in Scotland, underpinned by new legislation and new organisational arrangements which build on the 100-year legacy of the work of the Forestry Commission in Scotland. It balances the need for long-term continuity and the need for flexibility when responding to emerging issues and opportunities. It embraces our existing commitments (Box 1) as well as providing strategic direction for the future.

The Strategy has the principles of sustainable forest management at its core, including an adherence to the principle of ‘the right tree, in the right place, for the right purpose’. In addition, by implementing the Strategy, it is vital that we recognise the need for better integration of forestry with other land uses and businesses. This approach will enable forestry in Scotland to continue to deliver an extensive and expanding range of economic, environmental and social benefits, now and in the future.

The scope of this Strategy covers forestry as, ‘the art and science of managing woods and forests’[3], therefore, this document focuses on forests and woodlands management and uses these two terms interchangeably to include all types of woodland, from small pockets of native woodland and shelter-belts through to extensive areas of tree cover, such as those seen in the Cairngorms or Argyll. However, it also recognises the important contribution that individual trees outside of forests and woodlands make to enhancing Scotland’s rural and urban landscapes, their role in addressing air pollution, and their biodiversity and cultural value.

The Strategy has been prepared in line with the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act (FLM(S)A) 2018 (Annex A).

Box 1 – forestry commitments

  • Increase forest and woodland creation target[4]
  • Native woodlands[5]
  • Increase forest and woodland cover to 21% of the total area of Scotland by 2032
  • Increase the amount of native woodland in good condition
  • 10 000 ha in 2018
  • 12 000 ha per year from 2020/21
  • 14 000 ha per year from 2022/23
  • Create 3000–5000 ha of new native woodland per year
  • 15 000 ha per year from 2024/25
  • Increase use of Scottish wood products in construction[4]
  • Restore approximately 10 000 ha of new native woodland into satisfactory condition in partnership with private woodland owners through Deer Management Plans
  • 2.2 million m[3] in 2018
  • 2.8 million m[3] by 2026/27
  • 2.6 million m[3] by 2021/22
  • 3.0 million m[3] by 2031/32
  • Bonn Challenge[6]
  • Protected sites[5]
  • Scotland has signed up tothe challenge that aims to regenerate 150 million ha of deforested and degraded landscapes across the world by 2020 and 350 million ha by 2030[6]
  • Ensure protected sites are under good conservation management

FIGURE 1 Scottish Government National Performance Framework.

Scottish Government National Performance Framework





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