21 wind farms have been constructed on forestry land
Almost 14 million trees have been felled in Scotland to make way for wind turbines.
The Scottish Government expects to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources this year, but there are concerns about striking a balance between green energy and forest preservation.
According to new data from Forestry and Land Scotland, 13.9 million trees have been felled since 2000 to make way for 21 wind farm projects.
Six wind farms have been constructed in Argyle and Bute, with three each in Dumfries and Galloway and East Ayrshire.
Over the last 20 years, the Highlands have seen three wind farms built in place of trees, as has Moray, and South Lanarkshire has seen two wind farms built in place of forestry.
Arecleoch wind farm in South Ayrshire was also built at the expense of trees.
The Scottish Government has moved to reassure the public that more trees have been planted, but it is unclear how many of these are mature plants that play a larger role in converting carbon into oxygen.
A Scottish conservation charity that has planted nearly two million trees across the Highlands believes that wind farms and trees are both important for lowering carbon levels.
“It seems deeply ironic that trees are being felled to make way for windfarms when both healthy growing forests and renewable energy are important in resolving the global climate emergency,” said Steve Micklewright, CEO of Trees for Life.
“Woodlands that are ancient or have high conservation value should not be felled in large numbers because other rare and endangered plants and animals may be lost as well.” In other cases, such as plantations where the trees would have been harvested anyway, a more practical approach would be to ensure that the timber is used for buildings or other purposes that do not release the carbon stored in the trees back into the atmosphere.”