- Written by Roy Turnbull
- Category: Debates
- Published: 01 April 2015
Mature Scots pine burnt during grouse moor management, Dorback, Cairngorms National Park. Note also eroding soil and burnt ground vegetation.
You report (24 September) the pledge from the UN New York summit on climate change to stop natural forest destruction and restore hundreds of millions of acres of degraded land by 2030, in order to help sequestrate carbon in woodlands.
What will Scotland's response be to this welcome news?
In much of the world, such destruction and degradation of forests is caused by the desperately poor, seeking fuelwood or land to grow food.
In Scotland, it is caused by what might be called the desperately rich: burning land for grouse shooting, overgrazing it with red deer for deer stalking or, as in the Cairngorms National Park, building housing estates, often for holiday or second homes, in native woodlands. Scotland's uplands with respect to carbon sequestration (not to mention biodiversity, landscape or social justice) are a wasteland compared with what they could be.
Let us hope that this summit finally opens the eyes of the Scottish Government to the deplorable state of much of Scotland's land, in thrall as it is to sport shooting or speculative development interests.
How many of those hundreds of millions of acres of degraded land will be restored in Scotland? When will we stop destroying native woodlands for housing? What will be the Scottish Government's response to the New York Declaration on Forests?
The Scotsman 25 September 2014.