28 Jul 2021

Survey shows tree-mendous support for forestry

A new public opinion survey shows strong public backing for the Scottish Government’s support of forestry and its ability to deliver a range of environmental, economic and social benefits.

The survey revealed that people feel it is a good use of public money for forestry to provide places for wildlife to live (93%), for recreation (92%), to tackle climate change (92%) to support the economy in rural areas (86%) and buy fewer wood products from abroad (81%).

Tackling climate change is a priority and the Scottish Government is committed to increasing its tree planting targets to help reach Net Zero. In the survey, 88 per cent of people agreed that trees are good because they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in wood.

Scotland’s woodlands and greenspaces are important places for people to take exercise, relax and enjoy. The survey identified that 86 per cent said they had visited forests or woodlands in the previous 12 months, with a third saying they have visited more often.

Commenting on the Public Opinion of Forestry 2021 survey, Environment Minister Màiri McAllan said:

“Scotland’s forests and woodlands are some of our most treasured natural assets. They are helping us tackle climate change, providing recreation for people and special places for nature to thrive – all whilst generating around £1 billion to our economy each year.

“The results from the survey are very positive and reflect the multiple benefits that forests and woodlands bring to Scotland. Given our ambition to become Net Zero by 2045, it is especially good to see such strong support for tree planting as a means to tackling climate change.”

Surveys of public attitudes towards forestry and forestry-related issues have been carried out since 1995, usually on a two yearly basis.

This survey is the first to be carried out since 2017, and reports results from interviews conducted in March 2021.

Due to Covid restrictions, this survey was carried out by phone instead of face-to-face and consisted of 1,000 participants.

The full survey can be found here.