On 16 June 2022, Forest Research figures found that Scotland has achieved nearly 80% of the yearly woodland creation target, despite the main planting season being badly affected by a run of winter storms. A total of 10,480 hectares (ha) of new woodland was created in Scotland, with 42% being native species, meaning the Bute House Agreement, which set a target to create over 4,000 ha of native woodland, was met with 4,360 ha being achieved.
The overall woodland creation target, part of Scotland’s climate change plans, was increased to 13,500 ha for 2021 to 2022. Scottish Forestry had approved enough woodland creation schemes to hit the new target, however parts of the forestry sector had to divert resources from planting to recovering the millions of trees brought down in the storms.
Storm Arwen damaged 8,000 ha of woodland this winter, the equivalent of around 16 million trees, requiring millions of tonnes of timber to be recovered.
Scottish Forestry supported the forestry sector throughout the winter storms by reallocating staff resources and fast tracking the paperwork needed to manage the aftermath of the storms. Their data shows that most of the shortfall from the yearly target located in the Grampian, South Scotland and Perthshire areas, which were most badly affected by the storms.
Across other parts of the UK, England created 2,260 ha of new woodland, Wales 580 ha and Northern Ireland 540 ha.
Source: Scottish Forestry, 16 June 2022