Picture of Forest

Study identifies opportunities to increase community benefits from woodland creation in the South of Scotland 

A series of potential options have been identified which aim to help increase the benefits for communities from new woodlands created in the South of Scotland.  

A new study, commissioned by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) and Scottish Forestry, spoke to a range of interested stakeholders with different perspectives who proposed a number of potential opportunities, which will now be considered by both organisations. 

The report is available here

What is forestry worth to the South of Scotland? 

Forestry is one of the most significant sectors in the South of Scotland, being valued at a third of a billion pounds for the local economy per year. 

Ideas to be explored included: 

  • The co-design of new planting projects with communities 

  • Creation of more farm and small scale woodlands 

  • Introduction of community benefit funds and other mechanisms to provide benefits  

  • Ensuring new woodlands help create local jobs, skills and enterprise. 

Forestry is a key nature-based solution to help meet climate change objectives and ensure a sustainable supply of timber. Around a third of new woodlands in Scotland are created in the South, so it will have a key role in helping to support Scotland’s ambitious woodland creation targets, rising to 18,000 hectares per year by 2024/2025.  

Who did the study speak to? 

The study involved interviews with key stakeholders who shared their experience of, and aspirations for, new woodlands in the region and the ways in which they could increase their delivery of community benefits. 

The report’s findings included suggestions for national and regional approaches that may enable and support the delivery of a range of community benefits. 

Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of SOSE said: 

“The forests and woodlands of the South of Scotland are home to iconic wildlife and provide places for residents and visitors to enjoy.  

“Our region plays an important role in delivering the national targets for woodland creation, to help meet climate change commitments, deliver for biodiversity, ensure a sustainable supply of timber and support people’s health and well-being.   

“We want to build on the range of social, economic and environmental benefits that woodland creation is already delivering and explore how it can deliver better benefit for our communities. 

“By working with our partners at Scottish Forestry, alongside interest groups and communities, I am confident we can achieve this ambition. 

Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of SOSE added:  

“This study will help SOSE deliver on its ambitions for accelerating Net Zero and nature positive solutions in the South.  

“It is also the next step towards empowering our communities to help create a Wellbeing Economy while supporting our Net Zero ambitions. 

“SOSE will continue to collaborate with our partners to bring forward early practical initiatives and to maintain strong partnership working to show the range of better benefits from this approach. 

“We would also like to explore with willing stakeholders opportunities to develop approaches such as early collaborative planning for the co-design of new planting.”