The UK forestry industry contributes a huge percentage of income to the UK economy. It ranks as the 5thmost important industry, contributing about £9 billion per annum.
The diversity of the industry and the complex operations needed from production to marketing, provide a long supply chain. The forestry industry and primary wood processing together employ around 45,000 people who work in roles from planting and harvesting wood and timber products, to sawmills, distributors, retailers and finally the consumer.
The industry has a great deal of investment opportunity and is open to receive people who want to start a career in wood production, maintenance and distribution. The UK is a huge importer of forest products, so demand here outstrips supply and the demand for wood products continues to increase with no anticipated slow down.
Tree coverage in the UK is almost 13% and about 3.17 million hectares. The amount of woodland in the UK grew considerably between 2016 and 2017 as 7000 hectares of woodland were created, and this is set to increase further with recent government initiatives.
Impact of the Forestry Industry in the UK
As mentioned earlier, thousands of people earn a living by being part of the forestry industry in the UK. The wood processing sector is experiencing a great deal of innovation, leading to immense growth. It is looking to expand its territory to processing woods from other parts of the world such as Scandinavia, Europe, America and Africa, and it is predicted that by the year 2020, the wood supply chain will have created around 15,000 more jobs.
Forest products, like trees, woods and timber, contribute to the improvement and sustainability of the natural environment. Wildlife in the UK depends greatly on the availability of trees and forests. The UK has a number of iconic wildlife species and with regulation the industry can support their habitats and ensure their continued success. There are protective plans in place for all 17 species of bat, as well as other animals such as the dormouse, otter and sand lizard. Being a part of this industry and understanding its needs means you are helping to conserve native UK species.
Trees are good for people. They improve the quality of our everyday lives by providing necessary raw materials for better and easier living, but also by improving scenery, neighbourhood perception and air quality. They help to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere by taking in carbon dioxide. They also act as a filter, making the air we breathe more refined. Trees reduce the effects of erosion, and form a substantial part of our domestic fuel requirements. They also provide educational opportunities for school children and young adults, and pleasant recreational areas for all of us to enjoy.
The Future of UK Forestry
Over the years, the forestry industry in the UK is set to continue growing, keying into other sectors of the economy. A great future awaits the world of woodland technology, as production techniques improve and are refined. The industry’s contribution to the success of the UK economy cannot be overlooked and it deserves its fair share of recognition and praise.
With new companies forming, new ideas and innovations arriving and many investment opportunities available, the UK forestry will continue to boom and benefit us all.