Research shows that natural recreation can create 7,000 new jobs in Scotland

Leading environmental organizations point to great potential for nature professions in Scotland, but warn that investment is falling behind.

New research by leading Scottish environmental organizations released today shows that support for their nature recovery plan could create up to 7,000 new jobs and help Scotland recover from Covid-19.

The Scottish Parliament is currently reviewing the Scottish budget for 2021-22. The three environmental groups say all political parties in Scotland need to take this opportunity to start a transformative green recovery and invest more in nature-based jobs and skills.

The new data makes it clear that heavy investments in nature recovery could create more than 4,000 jobs in bog restoration over time. Expansion, restoration and management of native forests; Deer control; Delivery of a Scottish Nature Network; and agricultural advice. A further 3,000 jobs could be indirectly supported.

Mountain Hare, Copyright Ron Marshall, from the Surfbirds Galleries

Last year, RSPB Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and WWF Scotland published a nature recovery route map for all of Scotland, calling for five areas of the plan to be prioritized as part of Scotland’s green recovery.

New analysis shows that implementing key aspects of the program would create thousands of high quality and sustainable jobs. The figures show how implementing some of the measures outlined in the Conservation Plan can create green jobs and support skills development, especially in remote rural areas. Furthermore, with the right level of ambition and investment, the potential for the nature sector could be enormous.

Despite the enormous challenges that people around the world are currently facing, the ecological and climatic collapse still threatens our planet and risks further major disruptions and shifts in jobs and livelihoods in the future. Worldwide, nature is eroding at a rate never seen before in human history, and one in nine species is critically endangered in Scotland.

The data released today follows the release of a landmark new report, “The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review,” which found that society has collectively failed to engage with nature in a sustainable way. The report calls for a transformation of the economy to understand the true meaning of nature and investing in our natural assets to improve global resilience.

The environmental organizations hope that the data released today will help identify some first steps in this transformative change in Scotland.

Anne McCall, Director of Scotland for the RSPB said: “We know we need transformative change for nature, but that change can also help us build a more diverse and resilient economy and provide far-reaching benefits for people. It is important that the potential of nature jobs to contribute to Scotland’s economic recovery is not underestimated and undervalued. This is just a snapshot of the job opportunities in five areas of nature recreation and shows the potential we could unlock if we put nature at the heart of the Scottish economy. “

Jo Pike, Executive Director of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “Our results show how these first natural recovery steps can greatly benefit Scotland’s economy and society and help combat climate change. Importantly, many of the green collar jobs identified in this analysis could help sustain rural communities.

“As the draft budget goes through the Scottish Parliament, we want to see ambitious commitments to deliver a wide range of nature-based solutions to society’s serious challenges. Investing in actions such as indigenous forest creation and the establishment of a new Scottish nature network provide an opportunity to both address the growing crisis in nature and support a transformative green recovery from the effects of Covid-19. “

Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland said: “Rural communities, especially those that rely on hospitality and tourism incomes, have been hit hard over the past year. While the Scottish Government is carrying out its economic recovery efforts, restoring nature must be an integral part of it. Creating and managing forests, restoring bogs, and helping farmers to foster more nature are relatively quick ways to create and support much-needed long-term jobs in rural areas while contributing to green recovery. “

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