Trees and woodlands make an important contribution to good water management if they are of the right type and planted in the right location.
Recent government-supported research demonstrates the high value of trees planted along river corridors - known as riparian woodlands - in meeting the objectives of the Water Framework Directive. Details of this and other research on forestry and water management are on the Forest Research website.
The benchmark for sustainable forest management in Scotland is the UK Forestry Standard. Its legal and good practice requirements on water are published as the Water Guidelines. Forest managers need to comply with the Guidelines in order to receive approval and grant aid from FCS, and Forest Enterprise Scotland works to these standards in managing the National Forest Estate on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Forestry in Scotland is at an important stage as it tries to balance calls for its overall cover to be increased, for it to deliver more environmental services and public benefits into the future, and for commercial plantations to be progressively re-designed as they reach the end of their first rotation. Planning future forests plays a crucial role in good water management, and this will impact not only on the forest in question but on the rest of the catchment in which it lies.
Relevant support is available under the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP). Guidance on applying for grants to support the planting and management of riparian woodlands can be found here.