The climate emergency: What is Forestry and Land Scotland doing?
Scotland’s forest and land have a key role to play in helping to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
We’re responding to the climate emergency by proactively building resilient forests and open land habitats that are future proofed against wildfire, more frequent storms and flooding; and new or damaging pests and disease.
This involves adapting the species structure and composition of the woodlands so they continue to flourish, and implementing Natural Flood Management measures in high risk water catchments.
We are also playing our part in cutting emissions and capturing carbon by balancing timber production and replanting programmes, improving the condition of peatlands and other degraded soils, and working with the wind and hydro sectors to realise the renewable energy potential of the national forests and land.
Our key actions
Growing more trees, creating forests of all types to lock up more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Over the last five years we have created over 4,000 hectares of new woodlands, and replanted an area of 32,500 ha, including both new native woodlands and timber producing plantations to improve natural habitats and provide carbon neutral building materials to help the switch away from energy-intensive concrete and steel.
Restoring peatlands, helping to turn them from net carbon sources into carbon sinks. This also creates great habitats and improves both water quality and water flows. Since 2015 we have restored 6500 ha of peatland.
Generating clean energy. We currently host over 1GW of renewable energy capacity, producing enough energy to power over 600,000 homes. This renewable energy displaces over 1 million tonnes of CO2 which would otherwise be generated by fossil fuels. We continue to work with community groups, private companies and others to create further opportunities for such developments.
Protecting our forests. As the climate changes, pests and diseases are increasingly threatening our trees. We’re focussing on dealing with threats like Phytophthora disease of larch and Dothistroma needle blight on pines, removing infected trees as quickly as possible to prevent further spread. We are also growing our own young trees for planting or using other UK-grown plants to avoid importing pests and diseases.
Making our forests more able to withstand a changing climate. We are looking for places to grow diverse species that will thrive in the changed climate they will experience in future; designing the forests to make them more resistant to being blown over in storms; and adapting our roads and other infrastructure to deal with more intense rainfall events.
Helping biodiversity to cope with a changing climate. We are improving habitats by removing invasive non-native species, restoring ancient woodlands and peatlands, managing the impacts of deer; and expanding and connecting woodlands to create better spaces for more species to thrive.
Helping people to cope with a changing climate. We’re ensuring that, as storms, floods and droughts become more common, our forests and land is part of the solution and not part of the problem. We’re using trees to bind unstable slopes above key transport links, and removing unstable trees that could fall onto power lines and rail routes. We’re also planning our felling to avoid exacerbating downstream flooding, and restoring peatlands to help even out water flows.
Reducing our own impact. We’re committed to reducing the impact that we have as an organisation – monitoring energy use and transport miles, reducing waste, and expanding our fleet of electric vehicles.