Scotland’s forests largest in 900 years

Scotland’s forests now the largest in 900 years Source: Daniel Kraft

Research released by Our World in Data shows that Scotland’s forests have recovered to levels last seen nearly 1,000 years ago, as they reach their largest size in 900 years.

In just under a century forest coverage north of the border has grown from around 6 percent to nearly 18 percent with a shift to planting faster growing varieties in the `1980’s having proven more sustainable.

Scotland has been covered by forests ever since the end of the ice age some 11,000 years ago, but deforestation had already claimed large parts by the time the Roman’s arrived on the British Isles some 2,000 years ago.

The first real attempts to build the country’s forests came after the First World War, when shortages of many basic commodities resulted in the government planting pine trees across large swathes of countryside. Pine trees however, proved bad for Scottish biodiversity prompting the shift in the 80’s to faster growing species like Sitka Spruce.

Whilst those species are helping the government achieve its goal of 21 percent coverage by 2032, they are harming local woodlands.  

Critics say that although the trees are helping to o combat climate change by soaking up harmful CO2 emissions, they are taking over from native species and in the process are changing the fragile biodiversity of the area.

The reforestation of Scotland is popular with the Scots with more than 80 percent supporting programmes that have led to the country’s forests being the largest in 900 years.  

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Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at