Riverwoods is an exciting, ambitious initiative, launched in 2019 to create a network of thriving riverbank woodlands and healthy river systems across Scotland.

The need for transformative change

Society is facing big environmental challenges, which call for big responses. The UN has designated 2021-2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration in recognition of the scale of action required to tackle the biodiversity crisis. Riverwoods will rise to the challenge by seeking to deliver change at a Scotland-wide scale. Making our habitats and wildlife more connected will help make them more resilient, in turn ensuring they are capable of delivering the essential benefits upon which our wildlife, economy and wellbeing depend.


The key purpose of the Riverwoods initiative is to create a network of riparian woodland and healthy river systems throughout Scotland, which will deliver a range of benefits including flood protection, improved water quality and improvements for salmon fisheries, as well as helping to tackle the twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Many organisations and landowners are already undertaking river restoration projects, and Riverwoods will provide an opportunity to help join these up across Scotland. We will collectively share knowledge of the science underpinning riparian restoration, support landowners to carry out practical work, identify and address evidence gaps, showcase best practice and explore novel forms of financing to enable riparian restoration to be carried out at scale.


  • A wide range of partners supported to deliver Riverwoods projects
  • A variety of traditional and innovative funding mechanisms available for Riverwoods
  • A Blueprint for Scotland-wide delivery, underpinned by strong evidence and open data
  • A Centre of Excellence promoting knowledge exchange from existing leaders

Why are these woodlands special?

Native trees next to rivers, streams and lochs – otherwise known as riparian woodland – perform a range of vital functions. They provide shade, which helps regulate the temperature of the water (something that will become even more important due to climate change); they offer vital shelter to wildlife, and the leaves and insects falling into the water below provide a valuable food source.

Which species benefit?

The riparian zone contains hugely valuable habitats which support many of Scotland’s most iconic species including osprey, white-tailed eagles, otter and Atlantic salmon.

A myriad of invertebrate, bird and bat species can also be found, creating a truly biodiverse ecosystem.