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5 March 2010

One hundred million trees

Scotland will plant 100 million trees by 2015 as part of a drive to cut emissions, the Scottish Government pledged today.

The initiative represents Scotland's contribution to a global pledge made by the Climate Group States and Regions to plant one billion trees by 2015 and will result in a 3.7 per cent increase to Scotland's forest area.

The group of self-governing nations and regions hopes to persuade governments, businesses and communities worldwide to plant a tree for everyone on the planet to help counter climate change.

Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

"Tackling climate change will require a huge international effort and this tree planting initiative will make an important contribution to reducing global emissions. Greater forest cover will help cut emissions through either directly absorbing CO2 or by providing more sustainable materials for construction and renewable energy.

"Scotland is leading international action on climate change and the rest of the world must follow our lead. Right across the world it's important we make the changes needed to address the challenge of climate change and an increase in the EU 2020 target would represent an important step.

"As a nation we are determined to make progress and achieve our target to reduce emissions by 42 per cent by 2020, while at the same time contributing to other objectives such as food security. Across the developed world, we need a cohesive approach to tackling climate change and I, like many others from around the world, want to see real progress being made."

The Climate Group States and Regions was formed in 2005 and members include California, Catalonia, Quebec and Manitoba, and Scotland.

Planting 100 million trees over five years is equivalent to planting 10,000 hectares per year. This compares with average levels of new planting over the period 1998-2009 of 7,000 hectares per year. The total area of woods and forests in Scotland is 1.34 million hectares and the expectation is that this will be increased to around two million hectares in the second half of the century.

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