FORESTRY and Land Scotland (FLS) has announced plans to plant five new trees for every person living in Scotland.

The 25 million new trees to be planted by FLS in 2021/22 are intended to help create the forests of the future and contribute to Scotland’s climate change targets.

The tree planting effort will include native species such as birch, oak, aspen, rowan and commercial conifers such as Scots pine and Sitka spruce.

Tree planting will be supplemented by an extensive effort to protect the trees from browsing damage from deer. This will involve maintaining 2,500 kilometres of deer fencing and culling 30,000 deer, a reduced figure due to the impact of COVID-19.

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Doug Knox, head of the FLS Technical Services Group, said: “Effective management of the forests and land that we look after, supports and sustains communities in rural Scotland and conserves and enhances our natural environment for future generations.

“Our ambitious tree planting programmes will create new conifer and broadleaved forests that will act as the carbon sinks of the future, benefitting the climate emergency effort, biodiversity, and Scotland’s economy. 

“But realising these benefits involves protecting those forests and giving them their best chance of reaching maturity and part of that involves managing deer numbers.

“It is a constant challenge for all land managers but efforts to control deer numbers are vital to protect sensitive environments, commercial forestry and agricultural crops and to mitigate climate change.”

Doug Knox added: “We constantly monitor deer populations across the land that we manage to ensure that we can meet our wider objectives and maintain a diverse and thriving forest environment. 

“That environment will always include deer but at population levels the land can comfortably sustain, without suffering damage.”

FLS plans to harvest around nine million trees in 2021, generating £410 million in gross value added for the Scottish economy.

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