Can’t See the Wood for the Trees – May 2015

MandyHaving a woodland is a bit like having a pension, when you start, you know that it is going to be beneficial in the long run but waiting for the benefits of the investment seem so far away.  When we decided to plant the woodland at Hilley we knew that it was a long term investment and one that, in a commercial sense, we will never directly benefit from.  However, as I took a walk through the saplings (which are all of 2ft tall), it dawned on me that I will be here to witness an important part of this woodland’s lifecycle.  How many people get such an experience in their lifetime?  I intend to record what happens – Which trees grow fastest? What new mammals and birds and reptiles start to appear?  How hard is it to manage? How much do humans interfere in order to “groom” a word for their specific purposes?

I found the latest statistics on forestry as produced by the Forestry Commission (released 25 September 2014) and they’re quite interesting.  One statistic that is really quite disappointing is that “The UK was the third largest net importer (imports less exports) of forest products in 2012, behind China and Japan.”  Surely this is something that we can improve upon for the future.  We need more timber that’s grown in Britain. Not only that, woodland creates a great recreational environment, helps combat climate change and flooding, and provides jobs.

E4environment has a number of businesses getting their bit of a wood by sponsoring our saplings.  It’s a bit of fun and is frankly, a nice thing to do to show your inner environmentalist. Some businesses are treating their customers to a “thank you for your loyalty gift”. What a good idea. Around 100 have gone so there are still some 4,900 up for grabs.  For more information go to e4environment.co.uk/sponsor-a-tree

Mandy walking in the woodlands

STATISTICS

The latest National Statistics on forestry produced by the Forestry Commission were released on 25 September 2014 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Detailed statistics are published in the web publication Forestry Statistics 2014, with an extract in Forestry Facts & Figures 2014. They include UK statistics on woodland area, planting, timber, trade, climate change, environment, recreation, employment and finance & prices as well as some statistics on international forestry. Where possible, figures are also provided for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The key points from the latest releases are:

  • The woodland area in the United Kingdom in 2014 is 3.1 million hectares: 1.4 million hectares (44%) are independently certified as sustainably managed.
  • 13 thousand hectares of new woodland were created in the UK in 2013-14.
  • 11 million green tonnes of UK roundwood (softwood and hardwood) were delivered to primary wood processors and others in 2013, representing a 7% increase from the previous year.
  • Wood products imported into the UK in 2013 were valued at £6.7 billion and included 5.5 million cubic metres of sawnwood, 3.0 million cubic metres of wood-based panels, 5.0 million cubic metres of wood pellets and 5.9 million tonnes of paper.
  • A total of 201 projects were registered under the Woodland Carbon Code at 30 June 2014, covering an area of 15.4 thousand hectares of woodland and projected to sequester 5.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
  • There were around 2,400 woodland fires in 2012-13, burning around 400 hectares of woodland.
  • Around two thirds of the UK population had visited woodland in the last few years.
  • The Annual Business Survey reported average employment in 2012 of 15 thousand in forestry and 26 thousand in primary wood processing.
  • Gross Value added (GVA) in primary wood processing (sawmilling, panels and pulp & paper) was £1.63 billion in the UK in 2012.  GVA in forestry was £0.31 billion.

Blog post by Mandy Stoker