Tree lined road near Clunie Loch, Blairgowrie, Tayside ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Trees and woodland

Ancient and semi-natural woodland is an important and irreplaceable national resource. It must be protected and enhanced, as should be all native and mature woodlands.

Other woodlands, hedgerows and even single trees – chiefly veteran trees – may also have biodiversity value and add to landscape character and quality. These should also be protected from adverse impacts caused by development.

Mitigation measures should be put in place if a development will cut off connectivity between important woodland habitats.

What planners must do

Planning authorities should consider preparing woodland strategies as supplementary guidance to inform the development of woodland and forestry. Read advice for planning authorities on how to prepare such a strategy: The right tree in the right place: Planning for forestry and woodlands.

Where appropriate, planning authorities should seek opportunities for new woodland creation and planting of native species as part of development schemes. They should also explore whether new planting can link to existing green networks or create new green networks.

The Scottish Government’s Policy on Control of Woodland Removal:

  • is strongly in favour of protecting woodland resources
  • sets out the criteria for deciding if woodland removal is acceptable
  • gives more detail on woodlands of high nature conservation value
  • should be taken into account when preparing development plans and considering planning applications

Ancient Woodland Inventory

In Scotland, ancient woodland is defined as land that is currently wooded and has been continually wooded since at least 1750. Its age means that it is important for biodiversity and our cultural identity.

The Ancient Woodland Inventory (AWI) records where Scotland’s ancient and mature woodlands can be found.

Read  A guide to understanding the Scottish Ancient Woodland Inventory (AWI)

You can also search for AWI data maps on NaturalSpaces.