Scotland commits to forest restoration and expansion plan

THE west of Scotland is the location of what is being described as “one of the most important remaining rainforest sites in Europe” and the Scottish Government has pledged to restore and expand it.

The pledge was made at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Cop26, taking place in Glasgow. And it coincides with an agreement by world leaders at the conference – here – to protect the planet’s forests, ending de-forestation by 2030.

In a Scottish Government announcement (here), Environment Minister Mairi McAllan is quoted, as saying: “Scotland is home to its own Atlantic rainforest boasting a variety of rare species and habitats. We want to protect and expand this precious environment and we have committed to do so in the life of this [Scottish] Parliament.

“I welcome the Glasgow Declaration’s strategic vision [to protect the world’s forests], which recognises that forests and woodlands have a crucial role in reversing the effects of climate change and nature loss. As an active global citizen, Scotland is playing its role with world-leading ambitions in reaching Net Zero by 2045, five years before the rest of the UK.

“Our forests and woodlands are an important net carbon sink, absorbing around 6.2 million tonnes of CO2 every year – equivalent to almost ten per cent of Scotland’s gross greenhouse gas emissions.

“As world leaders commit to end deforestation by 2030, we are planting 80 per cent of the UK’s trees and making bold commitments like this to protect and enhance Scotland’s own temperate rainforest.

“Our ambitions do not stop there. We have increased our new woodland creation targets from 12,000 hectares a year to 18,000 hectares by 2024/5. By then, we will be planting 36 million new trees every year in Scotland.”

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland