MSPs urged to designate Scots pine as national tree
MSPs are being urged to designate the Scots pine as Scotland's national tree.
The Woodland Trust said the move would provide a lasting legacy of the Year of Natural Scotland.
A survey by the Trust found that two thirds of the public believe the Scots pine should given the status. The issue is due to be debated at Holyrood.
The Scottish government said there "is no mechanism to formalise the adoption of the Scots pine" as the national tree of Scotland.
The issue of designating a national tree was raised at the Scottish Parliament's public petitions committee earlier this year by campaigner Alex Hamilton.
He made the case that the Scots pine was an appropriate symbol for the country as its numbers are rising again, after being greatly reduced, making it a "symbol of a resurgent Scotland".
MSPs on the committee agreed to consider the issue and write to the Scottish government, asking about the potential process for declaring a national tree.
The Woodland Trust, along with a number of other environmental organisations, backed Mr Hamilton's case.
It has now revealed the results of a survey which suggest two thirds of people support Scots pine as the national tree.
The trust said Scots pine was an "iconic species", which also supports a great range of wildlife, including red squirrels, capercaillie and the Scottish crossbill.
Rory Syme, from the Woodland Trust Scotland, said: "Currently Scotland is one of only a handful of countries that lacks its own national tree. Effectively all that needs to happen to change this is for the parliament to vote in favour of a motion supporting the designation.
"Given the strong appeal of Scots pine, both at home and abroad, making it our national tree would be a fantastic way to celebrate the country's native woodland, and leave a significant legacy for the Year of Natural Scotland."
The issue is due to be discussed again by the petitions committee, ahead of a member's debate at Holyrood next Wednesday.
A Scottish government spokesman said: "The Scots pine is held in affection by many people and it is often the case that national emblems arise from cultural tradition.
"However, cultural tradition does not confer any official status and there is no mechanism to formalise the adoption of the Scots pine as Scotland's national tree.
"We await the outcome of the forthcoming debate."