Only 18% of Scotland's land mass is covered by woodland. This is substantially less that the European Union average of 44%. In 2009, the Scottish Government announced its commitment to increase woodland cover to 25% of Scottish land area by the second half of the century. This would require additional planting of between 10,000 and 15,000 ha/yr, compared with the 2009 rate of between 4,000 and 5,000 ha/yr.
The Woodland Trust endorses the vision laid out by the Scottish Government. It promotes the creation and protection of native woodlands across the UK and seeks to maximise the environmental, social and economic benefits that native trees and deliver. In 2010, it received £42,539 from the CSGN Development fund to undertake a Native Woodland Promotional Campaign across the CSGN area. The aim of this project was to increase woodland cover across Central Scotland in line with Scottish Government targets.
The Woodland Trust placed a number of advertorials promoting the benefits of woodland creation in publications targeting farmers and landowners. This campaign was complemented by a mailshot and by online adverts on the Scottish Farmer and Scottish Field websites.
The Woodland Trust worked with local authority biodiversity officers and Forestry Commission woodland officers to identify land suitable for woodland creation. A shortlist of 171 potential sites was compiled, and each landowner on the shortlist was sent a letter promoting the benefits of native woodland creation and explaining the funding rates available through the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP).
The Woodland Trust employed the services of woodland consultants to assist landowners in developing woodland creation schemes. The consultants conducted free site visits, devised written proposals and budgets, and provided assistance with SRDP funding applications.
The SRDP is the primary grant support mechanism for forest creation and management in Scotland. However, applying for a grant can be a difficult process. To simplify this process the Woodland Trust produced a step-by-step guide to accessing grants under the SRDP. This guide was complemented and promoted by summary leaflets, which were made available in outlets across the CSGN.
To encourage community action, the Woodland Trust distributed community tree planting packs to a wide variety of groups including community woodland and allotment schemes, schools and greenspace initiatives. To promote this scheme, the Woodland Trust contacted local authorities, charities and community-based groups, and a press release was issued to all local papers in the CSGN area.
As a result of this project, proposals and budgets have been prepared for 44 woodland creation schemes within the CSGN. It is estimated that 37 of these schemes will come to fruition, resulting in the creation of 485 ha of native woodland.
This project has also encouraged community engagement with woodland creation and over 10,000 native trees have been distributed to communities via the free community pack scheme.
This project contributes significantly to the CSGN goal of increasing in woodland cover in line with the Scottish Forestry Strategy. So far, 10,000 new trees have been planted and a further 485 ha of planting has been planned.
The focus woodland creation will also help to deliver a number of other CSGN goals including:
None of this valuable work could have been undertaken without funding from CSGN Development Fund. It enabled the Woodland Trust to develop a proactive approach to the promotion of woodland creation and the methodology developed is likely to be repeated in other parts of Scotland.
The SRDP guide will continue to be available on the Woodland Trust website and the promotional leaflet will continue to be distributed beyond the life of the project.
The Woodland Trust is working with landowners to ensure that all of the 485 ha of planned native woodland will be planted and they will continue to monitor this over the next few years.
|2010||CSGN Development Fund||42,539|