Foresters urged to adapt woodlands to minimise risks of climate change

24 May 2022

Article: 56/2011

A new practice guide published by the UK Forest Research Agency reports that future-proofing Scotland's forests and woodlands to be more resilient will ensure they continue to provide environmental, social and economic benefits, and play a key role in achieving net-zero by 2045. 

Increasing tree species and diversity, creating mixed woodlands, using natural regeneration, careful design plans and careful selection of tree provenance are some of the measures being advised. 

Trees play a huge role in climate mitigation as they remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store the carbon in solid form as wood, with around 6.2 million tonnes of harmful CO2 are removed from Scotland’s atmosphere each year, around 10% of the country’s gross greenhouse gas emissions. 

The harvesting and use of wood from sustainably managed forests transfers the carbon into wood products where it can continue to be stored, often over long periods, in materials such as those used for construction and furniture. Wood products can also be used as an alternative to other materials that release greenhouse gases in their production, such as concrete and plastics, and woody biomass can be used directly as a source of energy to replace fossil fuels. 

The guide finds that mitigation and adaptation measures for Scotland’s woodlands need to be considered together to ensure that adaptation actions do not solve one problem while creating another. 

The guide was published during National Plant Health Week, which ran from 9 to 15 May 2022, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of plant and tree health. 

Source: Scottish Forestry, 14 May 2022