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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-16762: Claudia Beamish (South Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 24 May 2018

To ask the Scottish Government how much UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) open ground priority habitat, as identified by the Forest Enterprise Scotland Habitat Action Plan survey, has been planted (a) in total and (b) with (i) native tree species and (ii) non-native conifers on the National Forest Estate by Forest Enterprise Scotland in each year since 2010, and whether all planted areas in each year had a UKBAP priority habitat survey to provide information on priority habitat lost to planting and to inform which areas were planted.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 14 June 2018

More than 104,000 ha of priority open habitats have been identified to date through surveys on the National Forest Estate. The way that we hold the data means that we can only say which component parts of the estate containing priority open habitats have also had tree planting on them. The actual location of the tree planting within the component seeks to avoid any damage to priority habitats.

The following table provides estimates of the annual area of tree planting since 2010 in those component management units on the NFE within which priority open habitat has also been identified. The rate of woodland establishment in these areas has increased as we have controlled the impacts of browsing by deer, which has allowed natural colonisation to take place, and as FES’s efforts to support national targets for woodland creation have increased.

 

Year

Native Species

Non-Native Conifer

Other Broadleaf

Total

 

2010

     31

    2

    23

56

2011

    10

    11

    9

30

2012

    81

    2

    4

87

2013

    31

    58

    0

89

2014

   150

    5

    1

156

2015

    52

    8

   3

63

2016

    239

    29

    9

277

2017

    300

    1

    18

319

2018

    1

    1

    0

2

Total

    895

    117

    67

1079

 

All areas are assessed and surveyed for the presence of priority open habitats prior to planting as part of FES’s work planning process before operations commence on each site.

 

Most of the open habitat on which woodland has been established is likely to have been upland heathland. The woodlands that have established are still priority habitats (upland oakwoods, upland birchwoods and native pinewoods) and these share most of the ground flora of the open habitat that they replace. Some of this area has been established through natural colonisation from adjacent ancient semi-natural woodlands.