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

Tackling climate change with trees

Scotland's forests are a vital tool in the country's response to climate change. Forestry Commission Scotland is committed to ensuring our woodland realises its carbon-capturing potential.

Key to our work is tree-planting to help mitigate the impact of greenhouse gases. Supporting the Scottish Government's pledge to plant more woodland, we are committed to sustainable management of forests and the provision of grants to landowners looking to convert unused or unproductive land into woodland.

Forests and the environment

Responsible management also helps us reduce the environmental impacts of our forest industries. As the rapid growth of young forests allows them to soak up carbon more quickly than mature forests, sustainable levels of felling can ensure carbon is locked up for longer in recyclable wood products. Of course, we are well aware of the need to limit greenhouse gas emissions once our trees have left the forest, whether promoting local use and processing of our timber to reduce transport pollution; or carefully considering our transport routes to minimise road congestion.

Carbon cycle diagram

Wonder of wood

Wood and timber have a wide range of uses and our recent campaigns have been keen to stress their value as an alternative to more energy-intensive materials. For example, woodfuel is a sustainable source of energy which can deliver carbon emissions reductions of over 90% compared to fossil fuels. Our Usewoodfuel website can advise on everything from home heating to the creation of large-scale energy plants.

We are also working closely with Scotland's construction industry to increase the use of timber as a building material for homes with a low environmental impact. The energy savings of these can be significant, as the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management has discovered. In fact, replacing many of the materials typically used in Scottish construction projects with timber can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost three quarters for a two bedroom, semi-detached house alone!

2050 Climate Group summit

As part of our ongoing outreach projects, we recently teamed up with volunteers from the 2050 Climate Group, who have offered their thoughts on the impacts of climate change and how we can tackle its causes, in a short video. On 26 November 2016, the GROUP will hold their second Youth Climate Summit in Glasgow. Young professionals are invited to discuss the impacts of climate change on different regions throughout Scotland. If you'd like to attend, you can register your interest on their website.