Scotland's Native Trees and Shrubs
Further benefits of 'going native'
(Records from Customs and Excise confirm that, in 1999, in the region of 60 million broad leaved trees were imported into the UK. Records of UK seed sales indicate that only a small percentage of these trees were of UK origin or provenance.)
The demand for native trees and shrubs of Scottish and UK provenance presents a new opportunity for the development and expansion of the Scottish nurseries industry. This has been made possible by a number of factors including the increasing trend towards sustainable rural development, reducing the dependence on imported stock, the expanding market for trees and shrubs of local genetic origin and government initiatives aimed at encouraging both the development of semi-natural and native woodlands and the planting of native trees and shrubs from a renewable natural resource.
In addition, with some sectors of the agricultural industry experiencing difficulties and falling farm subsidies, there is an increasing trend towards diversification of rural land uses. Small-scale nurseries are in a strong position to offer alternative land based rural enterprises with prospects for employment and income generation. They do not require high levels of capital investment and set-up costs are relatively low. The small-scale nursery could have a role to play in a niche market. Not only is the demand for native stock increasing, but also the demand for a wider availability of origin and provenance. It might be that there is a market for small nurseries that specialise in growing a limited range of native species produced from good seed collected in their locality. Locally grown stock produced from locally collected seed would also have the advantage of being best suited for local landscape schemes.
Support is also available from a range of government initiatives aimed at encouraging the start-up of new rural enterprise businesses, for example, through the local enterprise company network.
The increased demand for native trees of Scottish provenance would present opportunities for development and expansion of the Scottish rural economy and reduction of imported plants. Small-scale nurseries could have a role to play in a niche market, growing stock from seed collected in the locality.