Scotland's Forestry Strategy 2019–2029

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

Priorities for action

Recognising the likely strategic drivers of change in forestry in Scotland, as well as our existing forestry commitments (Box 1), we have identified six priority areas for action over the next 10 years. These priority areas will form the framework for co-ordination of Government action and partnership working.

The priorities for action cover all types of forests and woodlands at local, regional and national scales. Given that the principles of multipurpose and integrated sustainable forest management are at the heart of this Strategy, each priority area takes account of more than one strategic driver and helps to deliver more than one objective.

For each priority area we have explained why it is important and described the types of activity that will be undertaken.

Ensuring forests and woodlands are sustainably managed

As a cornerstone of activity under the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act (2018), we will maintain and enhance Scotland’s forest and woodland resources for the benefit of current and future generations. We will ensure that Scotland acts as a good ‘global citizen’ by upholding the international principles of sustainable forest management, ensuring harvested sites are replanted appropriately; preventing inappropriate woodland losses, particularly of ancient woodland; mitigating the risk of possible negative impacts from forestry activity; and protecting the credentials of Scottish timber as a sustainable product.

We will achieve this by:

  • Maintaining and promoting the UKFS as the benchmark of good forestry practice, and assessment of the quality of forest and woodland expansion proposals and forest management plans.
  • Further developing our shared understanding of the application of sustainable forest management principles in a Scottish context.

Expanding the area of forests and woodlands, recognising wider land-use objectives

We will ensure that, across Scotland, more new forests and woodlands are established. In doing so, we will help to: reduce Scotland’s GHG emissions; drive sustainable, inclusive economic growth in the forestry and other land-use sectors; help sustain wood fibre availability; enhance Scotland’s biodiversity; and increase the positive contribution that urban forests and woodlands make in Scotland’s towns and cities.

We will achieve this by:

  • Supporting the creation of a range of types and scales of new forests and woodlands using native and other tree species for a range of purposes, including production of timber.
  • Ensuring an integrated approach to land-use policy that seeks to maximise the synergies and reduce the potential conflicts between different land uses.
  • Improving our understanding of appropriate forest establishment and maintenance techniques in Scottish conditions.
  • Encouraging an increase in tree canopy cover in urban areas.

Improving efficiency and productivity, and developing markets

We will support sustainable and inclusive economic growth by encouraging the development and expansion of markets (including wood fibre products and forest-based recreation and tourism), and promoting efficiency, safety and productivity improvements throughout the wood fibre supply chain. In doing so, we will support safe and quality employment opportunities, to support forestry-related businesses in Scotland, particularly in rural areas.

We will achieve this by:

  • Supporting the ambitions of the Forest and Timber Technologies sector, as set out in their strategy, Roots for Further Growth[21].
  • Encouraging and supporting innovation, research and development, and the adoption of new technologies and practices throughout the wood fibre supply chain.
  • Ensuring wood fibre availability from Scotland’s forests and woodlands is predictable and increases over time.
  • Supporting businesses of different types and scales to develop and grow markets for value-added wood products and forest tourism and recreation opportunities.
  • Attracting new and more diverse talent to the forestry sector and improving the capacity, capabilities and safety of the existing workforce.
  • Supporting efforts to enable the sustainable transport of timber and mitigate risks of potential negative impacts.

Increasing the adaptability and resilience of forests and woodlands

We must safeguard the ability of Scotland’s forests and woodlands to provide a wide range of benefits to current and future generations. Given the degree of uncertainty about future environmental, ecological, economic and social conditions, relative to the lifespan of our trees, our approach will be to support and enable improvements to the adaptability and resilience of Scotland’s forests and woodlands.

We will achieve this by:

  • Improving the understanding of the threats to Scotland’s forests and woodlands and potential mitigating actions, through education, research, surveillance and the development of new technologies.
  • Managing for, and mitigating against, the threats posed by tree pests and diseases through biosecurity measures and contingency planning.
  • Supporting forest design and silvicultural actions which increase the capacity of forests and woodlands to adapt to, and thrive in, a changing climate.
  • Maintaining and enhancing biodiversity, in particular by using the recruitment of natural regeneration and improving mitigation of the risks posed by invasive non-native species, deer and other herbivores.

Enhancing the environmental benefits provided by forests and woodlands

We will increase the environmental benefits derived from Scotland’s forest and woodland resource, in particular focusing on protecting and enhancing associated biodiversity. To do this we will promote design and management practices which further these ambitions and help deliver greater environmental benefits.

We will achieve this by:

  • Supporting and enabling design and management of forests and woodlands to increase their positive impacts on air, water, soils, biodiversity and landscapes.
  • Safeguarding priority habitats and species.
  • Identifying and managing the cultural and historic value associated with our forests and woodlands.
  • Supporting activity to improve the ecological condition and habitat quality of native forests and woodlands, including PAWS.
  • Supporting the management of forests and woodlands to provide natural flood management and shelter for livestock.

Engaging more people, communities and businesses in the creation, management and use of forests and woodlands

We will ensure that more people benefit directly or indirectly from Scotland’s forests and woodlands, through improvements to health, well-being, quality of life and life chances, or economic returns. To do this we will focus on: supporting more people to use their local forests and woodlands for recreation, play and education; encouraging more communities to participate in their management; increasing the diversity of those working in and benefiting from Scottish forests and woodlands; and achieving greater integration between forestry and other land-based businesses (in particular crofting, farming and estate management).

We will achieve this by:

  • Improving people’s understanding of the practice and value of forestry and the wider benefit it provides (e.g. for livestock husbandry, flood management or health and well-being).
  • Supporting the provision of more opportunities for children to play and learn in forests and woodlands, particularly in urban areas.
  • Increasing the use of forests and woodlands to improve people’s health and well-being.
  • Providing more opportunities for urban and rural communities to influence the decisions affecting their local forests and woodlands, including through increased community ownership.
  • Supporting the provision of appropriate education and skills training to encourage wider participation in forest- and woodland-related employment.
  • Encouraging a more diverse range of people to value and use forests and woodlands, particularly those close to where they live.





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