A new riparian target area has been produced for new planting and the areas across Scotland which are eligible for increased grant support have been expanded.
The target area identifies around 175,000 hectares of riparian land across Scotland that has the potential for woodland planting to deliver multiple benefits.
These woodlands will help to improve water quality, reduce river temperatures, help with flood management and enhance biodiversity and the wider environment.
They will be eligible for a higher grant rate under the Forestry Grant Scheme.
This action to boost riparian planting is one of the measures announced by Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon in order to help get national planting rates back on track.
She said: “The Scottish Government is keen to see more planting of broadleaves around rivers and streams as this will increase biodiversity, reduce diffuse pollution and provide vital shading for Wild Atlantic Salmon and other organisms.
“Importantly too, there is also a wider body of scientific evidence which suggests that riparian planting is one of the most effective ways to reducing river temperatures.
“The mapping exercise to target new areas involved input from a range of key organisations.
"It has identified key locations across the country where further riparian planting will provide multiple environmental benefits.
"This collaborative work should help stimulate more riparian planting by increasing the overall area benefiting from increased Forestry Grant Scheme funding.
”Farmland used for establishment of riparian woodland under this new target area remains eligible, subject to existing conditions, for basic payment which should help encourage farmers to create riparian woods as part of their farm".
The maps have been developed by Scottish Forestry, with input from the SEPA , NatureScot, Marine Directorate, James Hutton institute, Tweed Forum and the Riverwoods partnership initiative.
More information on the new riparian opportunity maps is available https://www.ruralpayments.org.