1 Nov 2021

Scotland showing leadership on climate forests

Scotland’s ambitious woodland creation targets, which will see 36 million new trees planted each year, are key to tackling climate change and nature loss, says Environment Minister Màiri McAllan.

Speaking ahead of COP26’s Glasgow Declaration of Forests and Land Use (on 2 November), Ms McAllan highlighted that in the UK, 80% of all new tree planting takes place in Scotland.

Scotland has raised the bar on tackling climate change through tree planting by increasing its yearly targets from 12,000 hectares to 18,000 hectares of new woodland each year by 2024/5.

Ms McAllan said that Scotland now stands ready to share its forestry success story with world leaders visiting Glasgow. She said:

“Climate change and nature loss are the greatest global threats we face. We can and must start to reverse these threats. Planting more trees, and sustainably managing our forests is one part of the global solution.

“By planting the right trees in the right place we can soak up more emissions, whilst also providing a boost to our environment, our economy, and the lives of people.

“As we welcome world leaders to Scotland, we extend an open invitation to share our success story so that other nations can grow and protect their own forests and woodlands.”

The Scottish achievements in tree planting have largely been achieved by working closely with the forest industries and woodland owners, both large and small.

The Scottish Government is also pumping £150 million into meeting Scotland’s enhanced planting targets and ensuring there is capacity in tree nurseries.

Scotland’s forests are an important part of the country’s climate change ambitions as they absorb around 6.2 million tonnes of CO2, equivalent to almost 10% of Scotland’s gross GHG emissions.

Notes to News Editors

1. On Tuesday Nov 2 at COP26, the UK Government is expected to announce the Glasgow Declaration of Forests and Land Use, calling on world leaders to commit to working collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation.

2. Scotland’s forests and woodlands cover around 1.45 million hectares, which is 19 per cent of the country’s land area. These forests are home to 172 protected species, generate £1 billion to the economy each year and support 25,000 jobs.

3. By 2024/5, the Scottish Government has committed to planting 18,000 hectares of new woodland each year – the equivalent of 36 million trees.

4.  The Scottish Government is committed to increasing the amount of Scottish timber going into construction from 2.2 million cubic meters (2018) to 2.6 million cubic meters in 2021/2022. Using timber locks away the carbon for the lifetime of the building.