RPS Ecology team nominated in RSPB's Nature Champions of the Decade award

01 Oct 2021

After delivering the largest habitat survey ever carried out across Scotland, we’re delighted to learn that Forestry Scotland's project has been nominated for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Nature Champions of the Decade Award.


The Native Woodland Survey of Scotland was a five-year project where our specially trained woodland surveyors carried out 90,000ha of complex field surveys each year, from 2007 to 2012.

Led by Ecology Senior Director Dr. Simon Zisman and working for the Forestry Commission Scotland (now called Forestry Scotland), the Native Woodland Survey of Scotland produced the first comprehensive nation-wide coverage of all native woodland in the country.

By creating a digital map of the results, the Commission was able to identify the location, type and extent of Scotland’s native woodlands. This enabled them to accurately record habitats, species, non-native invasives and forest condition. The data set is now a fundamental resource in safeguarding the future of the country’s natural heritage, and the species that depend on it.

The RSPB awards honour individuals and organisations making a real difference in their local communities, businesses and schools to support Scotland’s wildlife and special places.

Forestry Scotland has done exactly that. The Native Woodland Survey of Scotland has gone on to be used within land use research, government and local authority planning, and forestry grant aid for owners managing the woodlands in the future. 

Dr Simon Zisman comments: “It’s a fantastic achievement to see this project to which we contributed so much being nominated for this great award. To be highlighted as one of the leading environmental projects to have taken place within the last decade speaks for itself. This work has and will continue to help maintain Scotland’s national heritage for years to come.”

Praised at the time by the Scottish Minister for Environment and Climate Change for the intrinsic value of the survey information, the award nomination is a timely reminder on the importance of forests for biodiversity and in tackling climate change, ahead of COP26 taking place in Glasgow in November.

The Nature of Scotland Awards event takes place online the evening of Wednesday 17 November.


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