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Culbin Forest, Forestry Commission Scotland

Image: Andy Hay

The RSPB believes that the environmental, social and economic benefits provided by the UK's publicly and privately owned woodland can all be increased.

The UK has a legacy of relatively small, often isolated, native woods many in poor ecological condition. Large areas of forest plantations are reaching felling maturity, some of which were established on open land that was of considerable importance for wildlife. 

Action is needed now to:

  • protect, restore and extend native woods 
  • restore priority open ground habitats - such as lowland heathland and peat bogs - currently covered by plantation forests 
  • promote positive woodland management to benefit important biodiversity.       
    We wish to see 'sustainable multi-benefit' management of woodland - including plantation forests, native woods, scrub and wood pasture - to benefit birds, other wildlife and people.   

Our forestry work

Our forestry-related work includes advocating changes to EU, UK and devolved government policies, providing advice on conservation management to forest owners and managers, and undertaking research into birds and other biodiversity affected by forestry practices. 

We work with forest owners and managers to improve the biodiversity quality of their woodlands, for bird species such as black grouse, capercaillie and nightjar, and for habitats such as Caledonian pinewood, lowland heathland, blanket bog and upland oakwoods. 

'We wish to see 'sustainable multi-benefit' management of woodland... to benefit birds, other wildlife and people'

We own and manage about 8,800 hectares of woodland in the UK. Our woodland work on our reserves ranges from conserving native pinewood at Abernethy Forest for capercaillie, and creating upland wood pasture at Geltsdale for black grouse, to managing upland oakwood at Carngafallt and scrub at Portmore Lough.

We are also restoring important open ground habitats from plantation forestry, for example peatland habitats at Forsinard Flows for birds such as dunlin, and lowland heathland at Farnham Heath and The Lodge to help woodlark and nightjars.