RPS in partnership with the Forestry Commission Scotland has delivered the largest ever habitat survey carried out across Scotland, producing the first comprehensive nation-wide coverage of all native woodland in the country.
The RPS team featured at the recent launch event, at which the Scottish Minister for Environment and Climate Change: Paul Wheelhouse MSP praised the high quality work and the intrinsic value of the survey information. Speakers drawn from the forestry sector, Scottish Government, and local government highlighted the insights data are already providing, including the more efficient tracking of ash die-back disease.
Covering a survey area of around 730,000ha, the five year long project identified the location, extent, type and condition of all areas of woodland greater than 0.5ha across the whole of Scotland, to improve understanding of this forest and provide information to target management of woodlands through future years.
RPS’ team of twelve specifically trained woodland surveyors have carried out over 90,000ha of complex field survey work each year for the project since we were first appointed in November 2007. Mapping of woodlands was undertaken on site using the latest GIS software, enabling accurate recording of habitats, species, non-native invasives and forest condition. The suite of information is now available for download from the Forestry Commission’s website along with a summary report on the extent of each woodland type ordered by local authority.
The information will be used within land use research, government and local authority planning, and will also be used to target forestry grant aid for owners to manage these woodlands for the future. RPS Operational Director Dr Simon Zisman noted, “This is an excellent illustration of our ability to deliver highly complex projects at a national scale for government agencies, and we look forward to working with the Forestry Commission Scotland on future collaborations.”