Woodlands SOS

IN RESPONSE to recent debate on the approach to expansion and regeneration of native forests by various conservation and environmental bodies, we are unified in the view the enhancement, expansion and reconnection of native woodlands is among the most important of conservation imperatives today.

We know that native species and habitats are, right now, facing very real and present threats to their continued existence, and this crisis is only going to further intensify with growing pressures such as climate change, economic and built ­development and conflicting land use issues.

The ground-breaking State of Nature Report published last year – a stock-take and health- check of our native wildlife compiled by 25 wildlife organisations – revealed that 60 per cent of species studied have declined over recent decades, and more than one in ten of all the species assessed are under threat of disappearing from our shores altogether.

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Some of the most charismatic icons of our native woodland, including Scotland’s pinewoods, as well as capercaillie, wildcat, twinflower, the shining guest ant, timberman beetle, some rare tooth fungi and green shield-moss, are all nationally rare or scarce.

There is a need to make our native habitats as resilient as possible in order to help them and the species they support from drifting towards national extinction, and we need to do this as a matter of urgency.

Of course, any such restoration must be done sympathetically and sensitively in the appropriate places using the right species of the right provenance, and based on all the latest peer-reviewed and best science. But none of this removes or negates the imperative. We are united in our view that much of our wildlife, and that found in native woodlands in particular, is in dire trouble and it needs our help to restore it.

Stuart Housden OBE
Director, RSPB Scotland

Jonathan Hughes
Chief executive

Scottish Wildlife Trust

Carol Evans
Woodland Trust Scotland

Alan Watson

Executive director
Trees for Life

Stuart Brooks
Chief executive
John Muir Trust

Kate Mavor

Chief executive

National Trust for Scotland

Dr Deborah Long
Programmes manager 
Scotland, Plantlife

Craig MacAdam
Scotland director, Buglife