Boom time for forestry expansion

In April 17, 2017

MORE THAN 18,300 hectares of forestry were sold across Britain last year at a cumulative value of just under £83million – and nearly 80% of that was north of the Forth and Clyde canal.

That was a key finding of a new report just published jointly by Savills and Scottish Woodlands – ‘Spotlight on the UK Forestry Market’. Speaking at the report’s launch, Savills’ head of forestry investment James Adamson said: “Although UK timber markets will fluctuate from year-to-year, the prospect of a longer term upward trend in timber pricing structures is very real, making us confident in the future of forestry as an asset.

“High-yield class, well-managed commercial spruce forests with good access to timber markets will remain in strong demand, and offer an excellent long term investment option,” said Mr Adamson. “Looking towards a post-Brexit-world, a revision of EU timber trade regulations could enable UK forest products to be used more widely in construction. Our research suggests plantation values will rise over the medium term, albeit at a slightly slower pace and we forecast 32% growth in forest values over the next five years, with scope for further growth if timber prices rise above expectation.”

Scottish Woodlands business development manager David Robertson said: “Government policy is increasingly focussed on the benefit of woodland. The Scottish Parliament has increased its tree planting target from 22 million to 33 million trees per year by 2025 – this equates to a rise from 10,000 to 15,000 hectares of forestry land, with grant funding bolstered from £36 to £40 million in 2017/18.

“In addition, a £19 million Carbon Woodland Fund has been announced in England aimed at increasing planting of woodlands to contribute to the Westminster target of 11 million trees in the lifetime of the 2015-20 parliament. In summary, we are potentially witnessing the best period for forestry expansion since the 1970s and 80s, supported by Government policy on both sides of the border.”

The report also noted that one of the most buoyant market sectors in 2016 was the purchase of agricultural land for new woodland creation, driven in part by a shortage of quality stocked woodland property on the market.

The proportion of forestry sold in North Scotland during 2016 doubled compared to 2015. This increase relates in particular to two large sales; The Barracks and Strathmore Forests which at a total of 7246 hectares made up 40% of the wider UK market.

Boom time for forestry expansion by Gordon Davidson.  Available from <