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While many organisations claim they take the ‘long view’ not many plan a century or two ahead - but Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) does just that in its work to plant the forests of the future.

Marking National Tree Week 2020, FLS said that it is on course to have planted 25 million new trees by the end of this planting season.

Tree planting on this scale is at the core of the organisations work and will play an increasingly important role for years to come, as a key element of the effort to meet Scotland’s climate change targets.

But newly planted trees are vulnerable to browsing damage, especially from deer, for the first 6/7 years.

Trefor Owen, FLS Director of Land Management, said:

“Every year, we work hard to plant the native and coniferous forests of the future that will help tackle climate change and bring enjoyment to future generations. However, after we plant them, we also have to protect them – around 75 -100 million young trees at any one time - to ensure they reach maturity and reach their potential.

“This is equally important for the slow growing, native species or the faster growing conifers that are hugely important for producing timber products that can replace carbon-heavy materials such as concrete and steel in our buildings and daily lives.

“We spend a lot of time and effort in managing deer: through bark stripping and browsing they are the single biggest cause of damage to young trees.

“In 100 years’ time, some of the trees that we plant will still be standing. But over that same period, three or four generations of trees will have been working just as hard to soak up those emissions and lock them away for long term storage in timber products.

“That is a good feeling."

Deer are a treasured species and a vital part of Scotland’s biodiversity but it is vital to keep their numbers at non-damaging levels to protect woodland and other habitats.

To help protect Scotland’s national forests and land from the negative impacts of deer, FLS employs a number of techniques, including deer culling and fencing, where appropriate, to keep numbers down to a sustainable level, keeping herds healthy and mitigating against habitat loss.


Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.

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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 0131 370 5059 or

  4. FLS manage 630,000ha of Scotland’s national forests and land – from very rural areas in the north and west to urban areas within the central belt. Nearly 11 million people visit Scotland’s forests each year.

  5. FLS’s annual cull is in the region of 35,000 animals – and accounts for one third of the national cull target. FLS Wildlife Management teams use an evidence-based information approach to set sustainable cull targets. Culls on the national forest estate are carried out by FLS’s own wildlife management teams and professional deer management contractors.