News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Scotland leading the way for new woodland creation

New figures released in June show that Scotland was responsible for 78% of new woodland creation in the UK last year. A total of 7,100ha of new woodland was planted.

Around 60 per cent (over 4,000ha) is ‘productive’ planting – specifically aimed at growing sustainable timber with 40 per cent native. This is the highest level of productive planting since 2000, and is crucial in supporting the sustainable growth of Scotland’s home-grown timber processors, who have been investing heavily in recent years in places such as the extended Norbord plant at Dalcross near Inverness.  

planting fc

The new planting figures would have been higher but extreme winter weather delayed over 800 hectares of planting until later in the year, too late to be included in the reporting period. 

In spite of this large rise, the annual target of planting 10,000 hectares each year has not been reached. However, plans and approvals already made for more tree planting in 2018 suggest that figures will be higher still for the current year. 
Helen Sellars, Head of Sustainable Forest Management for Forestry Commission Scotland, said: ”These are encouraging figures. The 2018/19 Forestry Grants Scheme budget has been increased from £40m to £46m to enable more woodland and tree planting projects to go ahead next planting season.

“Substantial woodland creation activity is already underway across Scotland, with many people involved, including farmers, community groups, private individuals and investors as well as forest nurseries and forestry contracting businesses.

“Already, over 9,000 ha of private sector schemes have been approved for 2018 and Forest Enterprise Scotland expects to create around 650ha on the National Forest Estate. A further 2,500ha of schemes have been submitted to Forestry Commission Scotland for consideration.”

The current 10,000 ha a year woodland creation target remains until 2020-2021 when there will be a stepped increase to 15,000 ha by 2024-2025.