A new public opinion survey shows strong public backing for the Scottish Government’s forestry policy.

The Public Opinion of Forestry 2021 survey found 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%).

The Scottish Government is committed to increasing its tree planting targets to help reach Net Zero – and in interviews conducted in March 2021, 88% of people agreed that trees are good because they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in wood. The survey also identified that 86% of respondents said they had visited forests or woodlands in the previous 12 months, with a third saying they have visited more often.

Commenting on the results, 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 – but this latest survey is the first to be carried out since 2017.

The full survey can be found at https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/documents/8118/POF_Scot_2021.pdf