Increasing woodland planting is a land use change that will help Scotland achieve its statutory commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. Scotland’s Climate Change Plan includes commitments to incrementally increase the annual woodland creation target from 10,000 to 15,000 hectares per year by 2024/25.

This short study updates a Woodland Expansion Advisory Group (WEAG) 2012 report that provided detailed analysis of the land area that might be suitable for new woodlands. It summarises the results of an initial re-analysis of the opportunities and constraints for woodland expansion, using a GIS spatial analysis. It finds that the estimated land area suitable in principle for woodland creation has risen by 270,000 hectares, 10%, to 2.96 million hectares.  This is due to changes in peat soil classification and extent (-263,352 ha) and the inclusion of potential planting on higher quality agricultural land (+533,352 ha).