Climate change and forestry

To help to mitigate the effects of climate change, Scotland has a target of an 80% reduction in gas emissions by 2050 (Climate Change Plan, 2018), and forestry has a significant role to play by:

  • locking up carbon in growing trees and creating more woodlands;
  • supporting the use of wood fuel and renewable energy as a substitute to fossil fuels;
  • promoting the use of wood in place of more carbon-intensive materials; and
  • promoting sustainable forest management.

The Scottish Government has an ambitious target to increase woodland cover in Scotland from around 19% to 21% of the land area by 2032. These new woodlands will absorb and store carbon and will provide a wide range of environmental, economic and social benefits.

Scottish Forestry climate change programme


Our climate change programme explains what we will do to continue to increase the contribution and response of Scottish woodlands and forestry to the challenges of a future changing climate and how the sector contributes to Scotland's Climate Change Plan and Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme.

SF has published resources to support resilient forests -those that can absorb and adapt to disturbances such as climate change, extreme events such as strong winds and drought and attacks by pests and diseases and be healthy and sustainable into the future.

Joint action on climate change

Scottish Forestry, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, and Historic Environment Scotland are all government funded organisations with responsibilities for different aspects of Scotland’s environment and heritage. They have come together to make a joint statement on climate change.

Renewable energy

The Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy sets out how to contribute to achieve the long term climate change targets and to address the impact of poor energy provision. The strategy sets that by 2030 the equivalent of 50% of the energy for Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources and supports a 30% increase in the productivity of energy use across the Scottish economy. SF can contribute to these targets by supporting the expanding the wood fuel and bio-energy sector.