Research shows nature's recovery can create 7,000 new jobs in Scotland

Stephen Magee

Thursday 4 March 2021

Staff placing & monitoring dams across drains in former forestry plantations at Forsinard Flows RSPB nature reserve, Sutherland, Highland region, Scotland

Leading environmental charities highlight huge potential for nature jobs in Scotland but warn investment is falling behind.

New research from leading Scottish environment charities, published today, shows that backing their plan for nature’s recovery could create up to 7,000 new jobs, contributing to Scotland’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

The Scottish Parliament is currently scrutinising the 2021-22 Scottish Budget. The three environmental charities say that all political parties in Scotland must use this opportunity to kickstart a transformative green recovery and want to see greater investment in nature-based jobs and skills.

The new data make clear that strong investment in nature’s recovery could, over time, create upwards of 4,000 jobs across peatland restoration; native woodland expansion, restoration and management; deer control; delivery of a Scottish Nature Network; and a farming advisory service. A further 3,000 jobs could be supported indirectly.

Last year, RSPB Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and WWF Scotland launched a route map for nature’s recovery across Scotland and called for five areas of the plan to be prioritised as part of Scotland’s green recovery.

New analysis shows that implementing key aspects of the programme would deliver thousands of high-quality, sustainable jobs. The figures highlight how delivery of even a few of the actions outlined in the Nature Recovery Plan could create green jobs and support skills development, particularly in remote rural areas. Beyond this, the potential for the nature sector could be huge with the right level of ambition and investment.

Despite the enormous challenges currently faced by people around the world, ecological and climate breakdown still threatens our planet, risking further large-scale disruption and displacement of jobs and livelihoods in the future. Globally, nature is eroding at a rate never seen before in human history and one in nine species is threatened with extinction from Scotland.

The data published today follows the launch of a seminal new report ‘The Economics of Biodiversity: the Dasgupta Review’, which concluded that society has collectively failed to engage with nature sustainably. The report calls for a transformation of economics to recognise the true importance of nature and invest in our natural assets to improve global resilience.

The environmental charities hope that the data published today help to demonstrate some first steps towards this achieving this transformative change in Scotland.

Anne McCall, Director of Scotland for the RSPB, said: “We know that we need transformative change for nature, but that this change can also help us to build a more diverse and resilient economy and provide widespread benefits to people. It is vital that the potential for nature jobs to contribute to Scotland’s economic recovery is not underestimated and undervalued. This is just a snapshot of job opportunities in five areas of nature’s recovery, demonstrating the potential we could unlock by placing nature at the heart of Scotland’s economy”.

Jo Pike, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said: “Our findings demonstrate how taking these initial steps towards nature’s recovery can significantly benefit Scotland’s economy and society, as well as helping to tackle climate change. Importantly, many of the green collar jobs identified within this analysis could help to sustain rural communities.  

“As the draft budget progresses through the Scottish Parliament we want to see ambitious commitments to delivering a wide range of nature-based solutions to the serious challenges facing society. Investing in measures such as the creation of native woodland and establishing a new Scottish Nature Network represents an opportunity to both tackle the growing crisis facing nature, and support a transformative green recovery from the impact of Covid-19.” 

Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland, said: “Rural communities, particularly those dependent on hospitality and tourism income, have been hit hard this past year. As the Scottish Government rolls its economic recovery measures nature restoration must be a vital part of them.  Woodland creation and management, peatland restoration, and supporting farmers to benefit more nature, are relatively quick ways to create and support much needed long-term jobs in rural areas, whilst also contributing to a green recovery.”

Download the infographic here.

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Last Updated: Thursday 4 March 2021

Tagged with: Country: Scotland Country: Scotland Topic: Scotland Topic: Scotland