Forests and woodlands cover 17 % of Scotland's land mass - some 1,340,000 hectares - they are a key resource contributing some £760 million per year to Scotland's economy and directly or indirectly supporting in the order of 40,000 jobs. The majority of these jobs being in areas of low employment and in the ever-growing, innovative and profit generating processing sector as well as the timber-frame construction and the woodfuel industries.
The SDA support the Scottish government's intention to increase the land mass utilisation to 25 % by the turn of the century and encourage the growth of a diverse and profitable forestry sector incorporating competitive and innovative businesses - contributing to both economic and employment growth.
Against the outstanding beauty of Scotland's forests and woodlands - eco-tourism - such as bird, beaver and otter spotting - is worth some £200 million per year to our economy and still has significant growth potential.
With a network of some 1200 kilometres of purpose-built mountain bike trails the Forestry Commission Scotland is earning Scotland a world class reputation within the sport - drawing in mountain bike riders from around the world.
The social development opportunities are gaining recognition, with visiters to forests and woodlands experiencing a positive effect on their physical and mental health and well-being. A beneficial effect, which carries over into their personal and work lives long after they have left the forests and woodlands.
The forestry industry is also contributing to tackling the global climate change issue by extensive new plantings of forests and woodlands to assist with the sequestration of carbon within the growing timber. The new economic activity of woodland-based carbon offsets is a fresh development related to carbon trading.
Timber production is a vital contributor to our economy and by 2008 Scotland was producing over six million cubic metres with considerable scope for expansion. Timber processing and wood using companies are buoyant and expanding, increasing home productivity and employment opportunities.
In recent years we have also seen a growing number of biomass energy projects fuelled by waste wood products being successfully completed across Scotland.