Policy & Lobbying
Scotland’s forests and woodlands are diverse and include a wide variety of tree species from productive conifers to native broadleaves. This range of trees provides suitable habitats for a number of Scotland’s best loved species including the red squirrel. The timber industry also supports a significant proportion of jobs in often remote rural areas. The contribution of trees to tackling climate change has also been recognised as trees sequester carbon during growth and can be used as a carbon neutral fuel source and building material. There is no room for complacency within the sector because the Scottish Forestry Strategy 2006 sets out an ambitious target of woodland expansion in Scotland from 17% to 25% by 2050.

Policy positions
  • Scottish Land & Estates is broadly supportive of the Scottish Government’s target to increase woodland cover to 25% in Scotland but we are aware that it is essential to plant the right trees in the right places.
  • Meeting this Scottish Government target is proving to be a challenge for the sector for a number of reasons including problems with the current grant system. Scottish Land & Estates believes that if the ambitious target is to be reached, the grant system for forestry must be simplified in order to encourage planting.
  • Scottish Land & Estates believes that it is extremely important that the many benefits which forestry provides are recognised by the Scottish Government and by the public at large: they help to tackle climate change, provide jobs for people, support other wildlife and offer recreational opportunities.
Current areas of work
  • Red band needle blight (RBNB):
  • RBNB is an economically important disease of conifers which causes premature needle defoliation, resulting in loss of yield and, in severe cases, tree death. Since the 1990s there has been an increase in reports of the disease in Europe, mainly on sub-species of black pine and lodge pole pine. In Britain, the disease status has changed markedly since the late 1990s and is now found in many forests growing susceptible pine species. RBNB was detected at FCS Newton Nursery in July 2010 and at two private nurseries during August 2010. The Forestry Commission has issued a Research Note about the disease.
  • Woodland pastures:
  • A new grant called Controlled Livestock Grazing of Woodland was introduced through SRDP Rural Priorities in late May/early June 2010. The grant aims to encourage more management of semi-natural native woodlands in Scotland through sensitive livestock grazing. It is a joint initiative between Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.

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