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Sunday, 21 April, 2002, 00:37 GMT 01:37 UK
Scottish forests branch out
Timber is increasingly becoming a major industry
The number of trees in Scotland has increased by 50% over the past 20 years.

The amount of woodland is now at its highest level since the 14th Century, a survey for the Forestry Commission says.

The commission's National Inventory of Woodland and Trees found more than two-thirds of woodland was made up of conifer trees.

It's a wonderful success story of an enormous 'green' investment

Allan Wilson
The survey was last done in 1980, and the coverage has leapt since then to 1.34 million hectares.

Forestry minister Allan Wilson said: "Few countries have tackled the issue of forest loss as vigorously as we have in this country.

"This is not just a story about bald statistics - it's a wonderful success story of an enormous 'green' investment in the Scottish countryside."

The survey found that woodland areas had trebled in size during the past 100 years; timber has become a major business.

Export business

Mr Wilson said Scotland's woodlands supported more than 10,000 jobs and generated more than 800m in business.

He added the success of production would mean Scotland would become a net exporter of wood in the near future.

He went on: "Scotland's forests are suitably managed to high environmental standards.

"We plant more trees than we harvest and our expanding woodlands provide protected homes to some of our best-loved wild plants and animals.

"Trends emerging in recent years are bringing greater diversity to our wooded landscapes, greater diversity in the uses we make of our forests and greater emphasis on planting the right trees in the right places."

The BBC's Jane Warr
"Scotland's woodlands have trebled in size over the past century"
See also:

18 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
UK woods' survival 'at risk'
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