September 1, 2010 - March 31, 2011

Environmental Sensitivities Mapping and Planning for Forestry and Woodland

East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire
Woodland Creation
CSGN Development Fund
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Lead Partners:
Ayrshire Joint Planning Unit


Woodland makes a unique contribution to the economy and environment of Ayrshire. More than 20% of Ayrshire's land cover is woodland and the region is home to a diverse range of woodland types that provide a key resource for biodiversity.

Ayrshire has a large resident timber processing industry; ranging from large paper mills to small family run sawmills. These businesses add important value to the raw material grown in Ayrshire and provide more than 2000 jobs in a region that has struggled to recover from the rapid contraction of heavy industry in the 1980s.

Project background

Ayrshire's first strategy for woodland expansion and management was published in 2003. It highlighted the strategic role that woodlands can play in delivering environmental enhancement and sustainable development.

In 2010, the three Ayrshire councils agreed that the 2003 Strategy should be reviewed to reflect changes in the development plans system, the designation of the Central Scotland Green Network and advances in thinking on issues such as Climate Change and fragmentation of natural habitats. To support this review Ayrshire Joint Planning Unit sought to identify areas which would be suitable for woodland planting.

How the project was delivered

The Ayrshire Joint Planning Unit developed a GIS based modelling tool to classifying land according to its suitability for woodland expansion.

Project outcomes

The Study identified land across Ayrshire that would be suitable for woodland planting. If delivered, this programme of woodland creation would help to support the greening of vacant and derelict land and would provide a boost to the forestry and timber processing industries in the area.

CSGN Support and Learning

This study has provided a methodology for identifying the suitability of land for woodland expansion. It will inform the production of a revised Ayrshire Woodland and Forestry Strategy and is a vital component in the delivery of the CSGN ambition for increasing woodland cover.

The CSGN Development Fund has allowed the review of the Ayrshire Woodland and Forestry Strategy to be taken forward much earlier than would otherwise have been possible within current resource limits. The funding also allowed the engagement of consultants with experience of working on similarly projects elsewhere in the UK.

Future development of project

In 2011, the Ayrshire and Arran Woodland Strategy Steering Group was formed to undertake a comprehensive review of the Indicative Forest Strategy for Ayrshire (2003). A finalised draft was produced in January 2013 and is currently being considered by the three Ayrshire local authorities.

Funding Details:

Year Fund Value
2010 CSGN Development Fund 17,143