A report from NatureScot has revealed the huge opportunity for nature-based jobs to help Scotland secure a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and support the transition towards a net-zero economy.

NatureScot’s analysis of nature-based jobs across Scotland identifies for the first time the opportunities and barriers facing the sector, looking at the historic picture as well as forecasting future trends.

The report shows that nature-based jobs already make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy, amounting to at least 195,000 jobs or 7.5% of Scotland’s workforce in 2019.

The sector grew at more than five times the rate of all jobs in Scotland in the period 2015-19, accounting for one third of all job growth in Scotland over the period.

Significant further growth in nature-based jobs is anticipated, as efforts to meet Scotland’s net zero targets increase. 

A five-fold increase in peatland restoration, near doubling of tree planting and additional investment in the Woodland and Peatland Carbon Codes, along with other mechanisms for carbon off-setting, all point to an expansion of employment.

Nature-based roles are also expected to develop quickly in emerging areas such as urban green infrastructure and green finance.

The report reveals the great potential for rural and island economies, where most nature-based jobs are located. Almost a third (30.2%) of new nature-based jobs could arise in island and remote areas, and 62.2% in mainly rural areas – offering potential solutions to the challenges of depopulation and out-migration of working age people.