SNP MSP leads debate on a national tree for Scotland

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An SNP MSP has said now is the ideal time to name Scotland’s national tree in a debate in the Scottish Parliament.

During her member’s debate, Joan McAlpine argued that a national tree could help boost efforts to restore native forests.

Trees for Life, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, The John Muir Trust and the Royal Scottish Forestry Society all support the calls for a national tree for Scotland.

The Woodland Trust, Scottish Woodlot Association, Scottish Environmental Link, the RSPB and The Borders Forest Trust all attended to listen to the debate.

It followed an event at East Lothian’s Butterdean Forest where Ms McAlpine was accompanied by children from Compass School to plant tree saplings courtesy of The Woodland Trust.

Ms McAlpine said:

“I would point out that this debate is non-political – we are asking for a national tree not a nationalist tree.

“Scotland is already a nation and we can choose appropriate symbols wherever we want – we already have the saltire and the thistle. This year of natural Scotland, is an ideal time to name our nations tree.”

She added:

“It was wonderful to share the children’s excitement today planting the tree saplings – woodlands are the most stimulating playgrounds of all.

“There was much chatter about whether we might spot a gruffalo. Apparently it was lying low today but they had a great time with their saplings and spades.

“The Scots pine came top of the Woodland Trust’s online poll to find a national tree, and I can exclusively reveal it is the front runner in a separate poll being conducted by the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh for the year of Natural Scotland.

“It is iconic and does not grow naturally elsewhere in the UK or indeed Ireland. Yet it is the most widely distributed conifer in the world, stretching from Scandinavia to southern Spain and from Ardnamurchan to Eastern Siberia.

“It therefore evokes the Scottish human diaspora which is also scattered widely and would be the perfect ambassador for a country whose people have made such a mark on the world.”