Forestry is seen as an important part of the toolkit to address the challenges of climate change. Trees lock up carbon, provide a sustainable building material to replace less sustainable resources such as concrete and also help to mitigate impacts such as flooding and soil erosion. Urban trees provide valuable ecosystem services including providing shading and cooling effects and improving air quality in towns and cities.
Recognising this, the Scottish Government have produced Scotland’s Forestry Strategy 2019-2029 which sets out a 50-year vision for Scotland’s forests and woodland:
“In 2070, Scotland will have more forests and woodland, sustainably managed and better integrated with other land uses. These will provide a more resilient, adaptable resource, with greater natural capital value, that supports a strong economy, a thriving economy, and healthy and flourishing communities.”
Scotland’s forestry sector is expanding rapidly:
- In Scotland’s Climate Change Plan there is a commitment that by 2032 Scotland's woodland cover will increase from around 18% to 21% of the Scottish land area through new planting and reforestation.
- Contributing nearly £1 billion to Scotland’s economy, this is set to double to £2 billion by 2030, through timber production/processing, recreation and tourism.
- Forestry will also play a key role in terms of climate resilience and reducing the amount of harmful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, helping the government meet its target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. We recommend watching this video: https://www.ourplanet.com/en/video/how-to-restore-our-forests/ if you are interested in forestry and its impact on climate change.
To meet the demands of the industry, more skilled workers are needed to meet the growth in activity. The sector currently employs around 25,000 people across forestry, timber processing, forest recreation and tourism, but the workforce is ageing. With lots of new opportunities on the horizon, it means there’s never been a better or more exciting time to work in the industry.