UK in need for investment in new productive forests

In the newly-published UK Forest Market Report 2016, it highlights the need for new productive forest planting in the UK.

At the launch of the report in London, forestry industry representatives and investors were greeted with news of a shortage of good quality, commercial forests and a strong financial case existed for creating new ones.

“The UK timber processing industry is continuing to grow and develop as the forests, planted in the 1970’s and 1980’s mature,” said Jason Sinden of Tilhill Forestry. “However, the lack of more recent planting means that there will be a shortage of timber in around 20 years’ time.”

“Given statistics showing that restocking of felled conifer crops is lagging behind the harvested area, we are at risk of losing productive forest area at a time when the demand for timber shows every sign of increasing,” said Fenning Welstead, John Clegg & Co.

The report shows £79.19m of forest properties was traded in 2016 – a drop from 2015’s record sales of £150m, but that figure was heavily influenced by the sale of the UPM portfolio for £50m.

The 2016 sales figure is in line with that from 2014 at £82.85m, with Scotland accounting for 67% of sales recorded. In total some 17,444 gross hectares (43,105 acres) of forestry was traded, of which 13,062 hectares were stocked or plant-able.

This is down 29% from last year’s record of over 18,000 stocked hectares. The Scottish forest industry is estimated to be worth over £1bn annually, making it bigger than the fishing industry.

The average size of a sold property this year has increased to 195 hectares (from 188 hectares in 2015) and the average cost of a property is now £1.18m. 

Source: Timber Trade Journal