As some of you might know, Scotland used to be a very forested region; after the last Ice Age with boreal coniferous trees and later with species that are common to a more temperate climate – until about 5,000 years ago. Since then, the forest cover has been on a decline, and the area covered by forests in Scotland was down to an astonishing 5% during the early 1900s (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forestry_in_Scotland). After that, though, things have fortunately improved, and according to the same source (ibid.), the forest cover was up to 18.5% in 2019. For comparison, Finland has about 65% of land area covered by forests, and Russia around 50%, for example.
The decline of Scotland’s forests was due to many different factors such as the emergence of agriculture and industry where woodland areas were turned into farmland and trees were used as timber or for charcoal as fuel. However, replanting trees has been conducted throughout the last few centuries, and in 1919 the Forestry Commission was established to address the need to grow more timber which was in great demand during WW I, and the need was dire again during the WW II.
After that, and until the recent years, the forested area has steadily grown, but not as much and as fast as many would have hoped.
Established in 1991, and the base of operations located in Edinburgh, Reforesting Scotland is one of many organizations involved in promoting forest life and forest living in a sustainable way, and reforestation is one of its many goals. According to its website, Reforesting Scotland aims to:
- Promote a sustainable forest culture and economy in a well-forested land
- Develop the use of locally-produced forest goods and services
- Encourage social and ecological restoration in forests and in wider land use
- Raise awareness of the benefits of low-energy living based on woodland resources
- Place the Scottish forestry situation in an international context.
As I am waiting for a reply from the staff of Reforesting Scotland, the remaining section of the Story #2 will be updated as more information becomes available. Until then, you can check the Reforesting Scotland’s website for details on their work and ongoing projects. [this post last updated: Jan. 7, 2021]