Scotland is a proud and iconic country, with a unique culture and landscape. Travelers from all over the world come to visit Scotland’s highlands, lowlands, and lochs. Another invaluable part of the Scottish wilderness, largely and unfortunately overlooked by visitors, is its forests.
Deforestation and logging have steadily reduced Scotland’s forests in modern times and throughout history. The mass cutting down of trees for timber has been prevalent in the country going back as far as the Roman Empire. For much of the 20th Century, the Scottish government promoted the timber industry, planting non-native pines and compromising the land’s biodiversity.
Since the 1980s, however, the government has taken a more conservationist approach and done much to see the country’s great forests return.
A massive regrowth
100 years ago, Scotland’s land was only about six percent forest, and enormous private and public rewilding efforts helped to restore much of Scotland’s lost trees. One of these is Established Titles, which sells small plots of Scottish woodland to be preserved, and in exchange, buyers can legally refer to themselves as Lords or Ladies, as this is the traditional landowning title in Scotland. Efforts like these have had an enormous benefit, and now Scotland is 18 percent forest.
The Scottish government’s goal is to reach 21 percent forest cover by 2032.
This rewilding effort and the Scottish climate movement, in general, are very popular and receive a lot of public support. Approximately 80 percent of Scottish people supported the reforestation of the Highlands in a 2021 survey. The Scottish rewilding efforts apply to the forests and also the restoration of wetlands, grasslands, seas, and wildlife, such as golden eagles. All of these environs work together as an ecosystem, and all of them contribute to the health of the planet.
Scotland is well on its way to re-greening its rugged and beautiful landscape and doing its part for the world