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Farming And The Countryside

Farming has a vital role to play in managing our countryside, with almost 80% of our land in Scotland farmed. 

What makes up Scotland's countryside?

Scotland's unique countryside and landscapes are made up of a huge diversity of habitats.  The list below shows the main types of habitat in Scotland (with the British figures shown in brackets):

  • Improved grassland - 13.1% (23.7%)
  • Arable and Horticultural - 8.0% (22.7%)
  • Neutral Grassland - 2.1% (2.7%)
  • Broadleaved, Mixed and Yew Woodland - 3.7% (6.4%)
  • Coniferous Woodland - 12.4% (5.9%)
  • Bog - 25.4% (9.6%)
  • Dwarf Shrub Heath - 12.5% (6.4%)
  • Acid Grassland - 9.3% (5.6%)
  • Fen, Marsh and Swamp - 4.2% (2.4%)
  • Bracken - 2.1% (1.9%)
  • Calcereous Grassland - 0.3% (0.3%)
  • Inland Rock - 0.5% (0.2%)
  • Montane - 0.6% (0.2%)
  • Standing Open Water and Canals - 1.1% (0.8%)
  • Rivers and Streams - 0.3% (0.3%)
  • Built-up and Gardens - 1.9% (5.8%)
  • Boundary and Linear Feaures - 1.1% (2.2%)
  • Other - 1% (1.1%)

Farming's Contribution to the Environment

Farming’s contribution to the environment can be measured in a number of ways. Along with other features such as woods and forests, agriculture shapes the landscape on which much of our leisure and tourism industry is based. In some parts of the country this means cultivated, relatively gentle landscape, while in others farming practice results in the wider biodiversity and flora and fauna with which we are all familiar. Some areas of Scotland are recognised as needing particular protection. In those areas, farmers are encouraged, and where appropriate assisted, to manage their land in ways which preserve and enhance its natural heritage interest.

Throughout Scotland more than 4,000 farmers and crofters are also engaged in a variety of agri-environment schemes. Overall, more than 1.2 million hectares are being managed in the interests of conservation - equivalent to 2.1 million football pitches.

Almost half of all Scottish farms and crofts have a diversified enterprise that sees them involved in telecommunications, tourism or renewable energy, helping Scotland deliver on its wolrd-leading targets in these areas.


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