3 Oct 2023

New forestry standard will promote sustainable forestry in Scotland

A new edition of the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) has been published today following a comprehensive review process.

The UKFS is the technical standard for all foresters to follow, ensuring Scotland’s new forests and woodlands are sustainable – balancing environmental, economic and social interests.

It has been updated to reflect improvements in scientific knowledge, developments in international approaches to forestry, new or amended legislation, and new information about best forestry practice.

A 12 month transition period is in place to allow guidance to be updated, users to become familiar with the new edition, and draft woodland plans to be finalised.

To support a smooth transition, work will continue with the sector to minimise disruption to businesses, particularly on future plant supply and the range of alternative productive species.

Importantly, the new edition aims to make forests more resilient to a changing climate and the increased risk of pests and diseases so they can continue to deliver multiple benefits.

Welcoming the new Standard, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“Scotland has ambitious plans to expand its forests to tackle the twin crises of climate change and nature loss.

“We need to drive this expansion in a careful and considered way, ensuring our forests are sustainable and that the right trees are in the right place. The UK Forestry Standard underpins all this important work and will be vital when creating plans for new forests.

“The new UKFS has been produced with the help of many stakeholders and experts from Scotland and the rest of the UK. I would like to thank them all for their important contributions.”

The updated Standard was developed with input from a range of technical specialists, leading researchers, and organisations and professional bodies with expertise and interests in the economic, social and environmental aspects of forestry.

The new (5th) edition of the UKFS is available on the Scottish Forestry website and provides forest managers best practice guidance to ensure sustainable forest management principles are carried out.

Notes to news editors

1. The 5th edition will be applied after 1st October 2024. After that date, updated Good Forestry Practice Requirements will be applied to existing forest plans at the time of renewal. Until then, the 4th edition (2017) should be used (UK Forestry Standard). 

2. The UKFS has been developed specifically for forestry in the UK and is based on applying internationally agreed criteria which support the delivery of sustainable forest management. The UKFS recognises the need to balance environmental, economic and social objectives. 

3. The new edition was overseen by a Project Board made up of senior officials from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and co-ordinated by Scottish Forestry. Its content was co-produced by the four countries, underlining that it is the four UK governments’ approach to sustainable forestry.

4.   On 1st April 2019, the devolution of forestry to Scottish Ministers was completed. With the new arrangements, Forestry Commission Scotland was replaced by a new Scottish Government agency called Scottish Forestry. 

5.   Scottish Forestry is responsible for delivering Scottish Ministers’ forestry policy, regulation, grants incentives, technical forestry advice and new cross border arrangements.  www.forestry.gov.scot | www.twitter.com/ScotForestry | LinkedIn  | Instagram