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Scottish Forestry (SF) was established as an executive agency of the Scottish Government on 1 April 2019, following completion of the devolution of forestry as a result of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018. For administrative purposes we sit within the Scottish Government’s Economy portfolio.
The Director General Economy has appointed the Director, Environment & Forestry to provide senior Scottish Government management oversight of the agency and of its relationship with the Scottish Ministers.
We are headed by Jo O’Hara, our Chief Executive, who also fulfills the role of Chief Forester. Our national staff are mostly based in Silvan House, Edinburgh and we have five conservancy offices who lead the local delivery of our functions.
We are responsible for forestry policy, regulation and support functions within the Scottish Government – including the provision of technical forestry advice and cross-border activity as agreed with other UK administrations.
We are the Scottish Government lead for the delivery of woodland creation targets, and for the regulation, support and promotion of the sustainable management of Scotland’s 1.4m hectares of forests to help deliver government priorities under the National Performance Framework – in particular in relation to economic development, climate change, environmental enhancement and health and well-being.
We lead and co-ordinate delivery of Scottish Minister’s ambitions for forestry as set out in the Forestry Strategy, 2019-2029 launched 5 February 2019, working closely with a range of partners in the public, private and third sectors.
The Forestry Strategy sets out the vision for forestry in Scotland: “In 2070, Scotland will have more forests and woodlands, sustainably managed and better integrated with other land uses. These will provide a more resilient, adaptable resource, with greater natural capital value, that supports a strong economy, a thriving environment, and healthy and flourishing communities.”
Scottish Forestry will play a key role in helping to deliver this vision by acting as the government’s forestry advisor and regulator.
The devolution of forestry to Scotland was completed on commencement of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 (“the 2018 Act”) on 1 April 2019. Following this, the Forestry Commissioners, a UK Non-Ministerial Department, will no longer be responsible for managing forestry in Scotland.
Two parts of the Forestry Commission – Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) – operated solely in Scotland. In accordance with the 2018 Act, FCS and FES were replaced by two Scottish Government executive agencies, which are responsible for carrying out the Scottish Ministers’ functions under that Act. The Scottish Ministers established the agencies at the same time as commencing the 2018 Act.
The Forestry Commission (FC) is a non-ministerial government department and was set up in 1919 to expand Britain's forests and woodland after depletion during the First World War. To do this, the FC bought large amounts of former agricultural land, eventually becoming the largest land owner in Britain.