Thu 26 Sep, 2019

At this rate it will take Scotland 155 years to catch up. That is not an emergency response, and it is certainly not leading the way Andy Wightman

The Scottish Government is hailing a tree planting strategy that will will take 150 years to reach EU average.

Latest forestry stats show that only 18.7% of Scotland is forested, while the European average of tree cover is 40%.

Despite reforestation being essential in capturing carbon and tackling the Climate Emergency, the Scottish Government’s target is for 21% cover by 2032.

The Scottish Green New Deal would see Scotland brought up to the EU average of 40% as soon as possible, with a focus on natural reforestation to maximise the benefits of forests to wildlife, our climate and people.

Commenting on the new figures, Scottish Green land reform spokesperson Andy Wightman said:

“Trees suck carbon out of the air and are vital in our attempts to tackle the climate emergency. We need to restore Scotland’s forests urgently, which is why the Scottish Government suggesting it is ‘leading the way’ on this is ridiculous.

“The European average for forest cover is 40%. At this rate it will take Scotland 155 years to catch up. That is not an emergency response, and it is certainly not leading the way.

“It is also vital that we understand what is needed. 60% of new planting is conifers rather than native forest. Our Scottish Green New Deal proposes that 60% of new forests are native forests. We are calling for a focus on natural regeneration particularly where public subsidies are being paid today for agricultural activities that are leading to deforestation, erosion and degradation of habitat.”

At the current rate of new planting (11,210ha in 2018/19) the government would meet its target in 2038, and our target of the EU average would be met in 2174 (155 years)

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