14 Jun 2012 10:00
Rise in native woodland planting must be maintained, says Woodland Trust Scotland
Figures released today (Thursday, 14 June) by the Forestry Commission show a big improvement in native woodland creation in Scotland, but there must be no wavering on the commitment to maintain native tree planting in the long term.
Native woodland is one of the best habitats for wildlife, hosting species such as red squirrel, pine marten, and capercaillie. Creating more and better connected areas of native trees will help plants and animals move around and adapt in response to a changing climate.
Woodland provides vital ecosystem services such as clean air, flood alleviation, and carbon sequestration, and also offers wide benefits to both physical and mental health.
The figures show that in 2011/12 5,700 hectares of new broadleaf woodland was planted in Scotland, and 3,300 hectares of conifer. Broadleaf planting has declined steeply since its 40 year high in 2001 when 7,800 hectares were planted, falling to a low of 2,200 hectares in 2010. This year is the best year for broadleaf planting in Scotland since 2001.
Broadleaf planting is a good indication for the amount of native woodland that has been planted, although some Scots pine will be included in the figure for conifer planting. The majority of conifer planting in Scotland is exotic species such as sitka spruce.
Scotland is one of the least wooded countries in Europe. Compared to a European average of 44%, just 18% of Scotland’s land area is woodland, and only a quarter of that (4%) is native. The Woodland Trust Scotland is campaigning for a doubling of native woodland cover in the next 50 years. This means creating at least 6,000 hectares of native woodland a year in line with the aspirations of the Scottish Forestry Strategy, which is supported across the forestry sector.
Angus Yarwood, Woodland Trust Scotland’s government affairs manager said: “This year’s figures are a big improvement on previous years, but to achieve a doubling of native woodland we need to maintain this level of planting long term.”
“The Scottish Government made a clear commitment to increasing forest cover in their manifesto last year. In order to do that we need to maintain the attractive grants that are on offer for native planting.
“There is significant pressure from industry to reduce the incentives for native planting because coniferous planting is falling behind. We accept the need for productive timber, but it should not come at the expense of native woodland. This is not the time to put the brakes on.”
Notes to Editors:
The attached graph shows based on Forestry Commission statistics shows the rate of broadleaf woodland planting in Scotland from 2001 to 2012.
2012 Woodland Area, Planting & Restocking figures released on 14 June by the Forestry Commission can be found at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-8TAEG4
For more information contact:
The Woodland Trust Scotland
<p><b>The Woodland Trust Scotland</b> is part of the UK’s leading charity championing native woods and trees. The Trust has three key aims: i) to plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife ii) to protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable iii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, allowing native flora and fauna to return.<br /> <br />Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). In 1984, the Trust acquired its first wood in Scotland. Today the Trust owns more than 80 sites across Scotland covering 8,750 hectares (20,000 acres). The charity has more than 400,000 supporters.</p><p>The Woodland Trust is a charity registered in Scotland (No SC038885) and in England and Wales (No 294344). A non-profit making company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No 1982873. Registered Office: Kempton Way, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6LL. The Woodland Trust logo is a registered trademark.</p>