One of the six priority areas for action in Scotland’s Forestry Strategy 2019-2029 is engaging more people, communities and businesses in the creation, management and use of forests and woodlands, and ensuring that more people benefit from Scotland’s forests and woodlands.

As set out in Scotland’s Forestry Strategy Implementation Plan 2022-25, Scottish Forestry is working with a range of partners to support the Government’s community empowerment ambitions and promote the Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement 2022.

We are also working with others to support a just transition to net zero and increase forestry’s contribution to the delivery of local community benefits and community wealth building.

We want to ensure that the woodland expansion needed to tackle the twin climate and biodiversity crises happens in a fair and sustainable way, with positive impacts for everybody, including future generations to come.

For further information, please read our paper on the strategic context for improving community engagement and increasing community benefits.

How we support communities

Supporting community engagement with forestry plans and proposals

To support community empowerment and help ensure that there is meaningful collaboration and community engagement in decisions about land, we are working to improve the opportunities for communities to be involved in the development of forestry plans and proposals.

This includes through the development of guidance for communities on community engagement and consultation processes during the development and assessment of forestry plans and proposals.

This community-specific guidance can be found within our refreshed Forestry Engagement and Consultation Processes document.

Supporting communities to use, manage and own forests

We are also working with partners to promote opportunities for community groups and organisations to be involved in using, managing and owning woodland.

For example, by providing direct funding to the Community Woodlands Association (CWA), we support the provision of independent advice to community woodland groups on a range of issues, including:

  • woodland acquisition
  • the delivery of social and economic benefits
  • organisational and governance issues

We also support community groups to use and enjoy woods and forests through our Community Fund.

Supporting the delivery of community benefits

We are also working with partners to develop and implement frameworks for increasing forestry’s contribution to the delivery of local community benefits and community wealth building, and separately, to increase easily accessible and sustainably managed urban and peri-urban woodlands.

These frameworks will help to promote opportunities for both urban and rural communities to enjoy the range of benefits that forests can deliver.