Wednesday, 28 December 2016 07:05


Written by


Figures sourced by SPICe have shown that Scotland’s conifer forests are the biggest in the UK – with over a million hectares of conifer woodland across Scotland.

Scotland benefits from a wide range of conifer forests, from Sitka spruce to Scots pine and Douglas fir, providing habitats for wildlife and a source of employment for many in our rural communities. Scotland’s forestry industry supports 25,000 jobs and contributes £1 billion to the economy – a real growth industry.

The one million hectares of conifer woodland across the country far exceed the 490,000 hectares found across England and Wales – with new planting in Scotland also far outstripping the area in the rest of the UK and consistently strong in the years since the SNP came to power.

Commenting, SNP MSP and Deputy Convener of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, Gail Ross, said:

“These figures show how important conifers are to Scotland’s forestry sector and demonstrate the success of the SNP Government in supporting this industry which contributes £1 billion and 25,000 jobs to Scotland’s economy.

“These conifer forests make an important contribution to the rural economy in constituencies like mine, providing local jobs and skills opportunities for young people.  They also make a vital contribution to meeting our ambitious climate change targets.

“The SNP has been active in supporting Scotland’s rural communities – and the Scottish Government’s draft budget shows the level of our ambition to meet our planting targets. It’s yet more evidence of our commitment to Scotland’s rural communities.”

Area of new conifer planting (hectares)

Year        Scotland    England    Wales

2006/07    2,000        100        0

2007/08    700        100        0

2008/09    1,200        0        0

2009/10    500        0        0

2010/11    1,500        0        0

2011/12    3,300        0        100

2012/13    1,700        0        100

2013/14    2,000        0        100

2014/15    2,500        100        0

2015/16    1,900        0        0

Source: Forestry Commission (2011 & 2016)

Woodland area (hectares)

                          Scotland    England    Wales

Total conifers     1,059,000    340,000    150,000

Total woodland   1,436,000    1,306,000    306,000

Source: Forestry Commission 2016