Scotland on track to hit woodland planting target

Scotland is on track to meet its latest tree-planting targets and exceed goals set for the next few years, despite challenges posed by bad weather and the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 13,000 hectares of new forests are expected to be created across Scotland by the end of the current financial year, covering an area larger than 22,000 football pitches

Annual planting targets were increased to 12,000 hectares last year and will rise to 18,000 hectares in 2024/25.

Foresters, farmers and land managers are expected to have created around 13,000 hectares of new woodland by the end of the current financial year, covering an area larger than 22,000 football pitches.

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Despite missing last year’s target, Scotland is leading the way in tree-planting across the UK with 82 per cent of all new forests.

Planting trees helps battle climate change as well as providing jobs and income.

The forestry sector supports around 25,000 jobs in Scotland and generates £1 billion for the economy each year.

Scottish rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing has welcomed the work being done across the country.

He said: “This really is a remarkable achievement by all those concerned and I would like to pay tribute to everyone working in the sector – public and private – who are out there right now, working hard to deliver our planting targets.

“In a year of unprecedented adversity with Covid, Brexit and heavy, persistent snow at the beginning of this year, this is such positive news.

“And this is not all down to the large forestry companies.“We have had significant interest from smaller woodland owners, farmers and crofters who are planting almost 200 of the 320 woodland-creation schemes we are funding this year.”

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