A MAJORITY of people believe more forestry should be planted in the Scottish Highlands, according to a new survey. 

Eight in 10 people polled recently agreed the area should be reforested and nearly 80 per cent said more should be done to support biodiversity in the region. 

More than 90 per cent of respondents also said they supported productive forestry as a way to mitigate climate change and for Scotland to become more self-sufficient in timber production

The findings come from a survey of 1,000 people by Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS), which is looking to expand national forests in the region. 

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Graeme Prest, Forestry and Land Scotland north region manager, said: “There is strong support in Scotland for increasing the amount of timber we grow here by planting more forests, to make us less dependent on timber imports from abroad - and to support biodiversity. It’s about planting the right tree in the right place." 

The UK remains the second-largest net importer of forestry products in the world, according to the most recent Forest Research findings. 

The Highlands are home to approximately 350,000 hectares of forestry, representing around 13.5 per cent of the land area. 

Between 40-50 per cent of this woodland is managed by FLS and it produces some 500,000 tonnes of timber each year, that’s used in housebuilding, fencing, pallets and numerous other uses. 

Graeme added: "Some of Scotland’s endangered and iconic species such as red squirrels, ospreys, hen harriers and pine marten do especially well in productive forests.

“We have received £30 million from the Scottish Government to buy more land to plant more publicly owned forests and woodlands. This will enable us to increase our tree planting effort by 20 per cent by 2024/25, helping to meet the Government’s ambitious net zero targets.              

“The Highlands will play a key role in helping us meet this target.”