Forestry buys Highland land to spur ‘net zero’ quest

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has launched a new acquisition strategy to purchase land to boost climate emergency mitigation efforts.

The strategy is underpinned by a £ 30million Scottish government investment in a low carbon investment fund and the transfer of £ 9million of residual funds from the old forest creation program to a new strategic acquisition fund.

FLS is now in a position to acquire the land it needs to “improve its game” in the quest for zero carbon

The new strategy will allow FLS to purchase land for commercial creation of conifers or extensive native forests, land suitable for peatland restoration, and land that will enhance natural capital and other environmental benefits.

Simon Hodgson, Managing Director of FLS, said: “Planting trees and restoring peatlands are key to boosting Scotland’s climate emergency mitigation effort.

“With the Scottish Government’s planting targets increasing to 18,000 ha per year over the next three years, we intend to play our part and improve our game to help achieve them. To do this, we need to acquire more land.

“In our previous forest creation program, we had to sell land in order to finance the acquisition of new land – but this is no longer a requirement.

“This greater flexibility in expanding Scotland’s forests and national lands to add forests and forest cover will allow us to further contribute to biodiversity conservation, to provide opportunities for community engagement and to capture and store carbon emissions. “

The SAF will be supported by funds from FLS land cessions, income from sales of community transfers and other potential investments from land management partners.

Taking an “invest to save” approach, FLS will focus on purchases that would be strategically beneficial to national forests and lands.

This could include acquisitions that improve access, improve and reduce the long-term costs of transporting timber, rationalize boundaries or improve management options, or facilitate working in partnership.


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