New strategy commits Scotland to more forests, woodlands and urban trees

The Scottish Government has set out six priority areas, including increasing urban canopy cover, in its newly published Forestry Strategy 2019-2029.

Image: MajiksBox (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image: MajiksBox (CC BY-SA 2.0)

These are:

  • Ensuring forests and woodlands are sustainably managed;
  • Expanding the area of forests and woodlands, and encouraging an increase in tree canopy cover in urban areas;
  • Improving efficiency and productivity, and developing markets;
  • Increasing the adaptability and resilience of forests and woodlands;
  • Enhancing the environmental benefits provided by forests and woodlands;
  • Engaging more people, communities and businesses in the creation, management and use of forests and woodlands.

"The delivery of this Strategy will require action across Scottish Government, its agencies and by other public authorities, through creating and managing forest and woodland assets, the promotion of sustainable forest management, and by direct and indirect support for sustainable forest management objectives," the strategy states.

The strategy is a key part of the now fully devolved arrangements for forestry in Scotland, underpinned by the 2018 Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act, the first such legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament.

It lays down few specifics. But within 12 months, the Scottish Government intends to publish a more detailed implementation, monitoring and reporting framework, to include key delivery milestones and a set of indicators to enable monitoring the delivery of the Strategy’s objectives.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing told the Scottish Parliament: "This strategy signals the start of a new era for forestry in Scotland. I have a clear ambition for forestry – I want Scotland to have more trees and woodlands."

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