The last twelve months have seen an increase in Scots showing appreciation for local forests and woodlands.
Lockdown restrictions have meant exploring the sights around us rather than venturing abroad with 86% of respondents recently surveyed by Scottish Forestry having visited a local forest or woodland in the last twelve months.
This increased appreciation in the outdoors has translated into more Scots than ever being supportive of financing forests and woodlands with public money.
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.”
Recent projects across Highland Perthshire have exhibited this change in public support for supporting forestry such as the Nature’s Wood project created by P6 & P7 students at Breadalbane Academy (https://www.heartland.scot/news/breadalbane-academy-students-create-natures-wood )
The survey indicates that ten years ago, only 65% of the public believed public funding should support forestry places for wildlife to live compared to 93% in 2021.
Providing housing for wild animals was a key motivator in Breadalbane Academy’s ‘Nature’s Wood’ project as well as providing a place for learning which 88% of respondents in the survey supported.
Since 1995, surveys on forestry issues have been completed every other year with the most recent being the first since 2017. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this survey was carried out by phone instead of face-to-face as in other years.
To view the survey in full, please visit: https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/documents/8118/POF_Scot_2021.pdf