EFFORTS to expand Scotland's woodland are expected to fall short of target, the Woodland Trust Scotland is warning.
The charity says figures released by the Forestry Commission show that tree planting targets have been missed for the third year in a row.
In 2012 the Scottish Government had committed to creating 100,000 hectares of new woodland cover by 2022, but in the 2013/14 planting season just 8,300ha of woodland was planted — far short of the 10,000 hectares a year needed to achieve this.
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The last time the required level of tree planting was reached was 2001.
Charles Dundas from the trust said: "Planting rates are governed by the availability of grants for woodland creation through Scotland's Rural Development Programme (SDRP). The reason that the Scotland is failing to hit a target of 10,000 hectares a year is that there is simply not enough money available."
A spokesman for Forestry Commission Scotland said around two-thirds of new planting (65%) in the UK took place in Scotland
A further 15,000ha was expected under the current SRDP in addition to in Forestry Commission woodland.