The future of peatland forestry in Scotland: balancing economics, carbon and biodiversity.

Richard Payne, A Anderson, T. Sloan, P. Gilbert, Anthony Newton, J Ratcliffe, D. Mauquoy, W. Jessop, R. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From the 1940s to the 1980s large areas of conifer forest were planted on Scottish peatland. Many of these plantations are
now reaching harvesting age and critical questions surround what should be done with them next. This paper reviews and summarises some key issues, outstanding questions and ongoing research in this area. Three key options for the future are: re-stocking plantations for a second rotation; restoration of plantations to open bog; and a ‘middle-way’ option which attempts to retain trees but without the negative consequences
of commercial forestry. Each of these options faces practical issues and difficult trade-offs between the economic value of forestry, biodiversity, and the value of peat as a store of carbon
which mitigates climate change. The future of peatland forestry in Scotland is likely to be a patchwork of each of these
possibilities. Decisions on which option is right for which site need to be made soon but doing so will be difficult given
large gaps in the underlying science.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScottish Forestry
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2018


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