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FWN39 Spring 2023 – Maximising the Benefits of Riparian Woodlands

31 March 2023

Improving support for planting trees around rivers and streams

Well-designed forests and woodlands, and the creation of riparian woodland, can play an important role in water management, including flood mitigation and improving water quality, as well as providing other environmental benefits such as improving biodiversity in watercourses.

The 2022 – 2023 Programme for Government set out a commitment to improve support for tree planting around rivers and streams in areas which provide multiple benefits, such as improvements to:

  • River shading to reduce thermal stress for Wild Atlantic salmon and other river organisms
  • Diffuse pollution
  • Water body condition and pressures (in relation to River Basin Management Planning)
  • Flood risk
  • Watercourse biodiversity

Scottish Forestry is identifying and mapping target areas to help direct grant support for riparian woodland planting to locations with the greatest multiple benefits.

These maps of riparian woodland target areas are due for completion in spring 2023. They are being developed with input from stakeholders including: Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Nature.Scot, Marine Scotland, The James Hutton Institute and the Riverwoods Partnership Initiative.

Forest Research are currently working on a UK Forestry Standard Practice Guide: Creating and Managing Riparian Woodlands. The guidance will assist in the planning and design of riparian woodlands and management approaches to improve habitat and protect water resources.

The maps, enhanced grant support and guidance will facilitate opportunities to plant more riparian woodlands and encourage greater delivery of environmental outcomes.

Dr Linsey Mason-McLean
Land Use and Environment Policy Advisor, Scottish Forestry

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