Survey of Scotland's native woodlands reaches first milestone

A six-year survey to create the first full record of Scotland's remaining native woodlands has reached its first major milestone.

Environment minister Roseanna Cunningham cleared Himalayan Balsam with volunteers - image: FC
Environment minister Roseanna Cunningham cleared Himalayan Balsam with volunteers - image: FC

Carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland, with support from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Native Woodland Survey of Scotland (NWSS) aims to detail the extent, nature and condition of the native woodlands in all of Scotland's local authority areas.

The first eight summary reports published this week cover the local authority areas for Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, North, South and East Ayrshire and East Renfrew.

In addition to the summary reports, the survey data is available online to enable woodland owners and managers, partner agencies and local authorities, to inform their woodland management, planning and decision making processes.

Welcoming the results, Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham, said: "Scotland's woodlands are becoming increasingly important to us in a number of ways - from sustaining and enhancing biodiversity to helping in the fight against climate change, from serving as a lynchpin for many rural enterprises, to offering a wide range of recreational opportunities to communities across the country.

"But it is quite shocking to think that we only have a tiny remnant of our original native woodland left due to historical exploitation.

"During the last 20 years or so a lot has been done to protect these precious fragments and begin to reverse that decline, but if we are to see our efforts have the maximum effect then we need to know exactly what resource we have to work with.

"This is a hugely important survey and I am confident will make a significant contribution towards protecting, enhancing and expanding this magnificent resource."

In total, the surveyors will visit around 730,000 hectares of woodland across Scotland, surveying all woodlands over 0.5ha in size - roughly a total of 425,000 hectares.

For more information on the survey, the results and how to use them, visit and look for the ‘reports' link (in the summary reports and Accessing Information section).>Subscribe to Horticulture Week for more news, more in-depth features and more technical and market info.



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