This Technical Paper draws together information on the forests of the Scottish Highlands, many of which are regarded as being extreme oceanic variants of the boreal forest. The affinities between Scottish boreal forests and their European counterparts are assessed. Many of the Scots pine and birch forests in the Scottish Highlands appear to have sufficient similarities with many Eurasian boreal forests for the term boreal forest to be valid. However, they are growing in a climate that is so strongly oceanic that a true boreal climatic zone cannot be identified. An account is given of the composition, structure, dynamics and history of Scottish boreal forests, and an assessment is made of their current status in Scottish forestry. The place of recent conifer plantations in the Highlands of Scotland is described, these having similarities with intensively managed boreal forests in, for example, Scandinavia. Recent forest policy initiatives are described and the future of Scottish boreal forests is assessed.