Latest statistics on UK forestry and sawmilling


The latest National Statistics on forestry produced by the Forestry Commission were released recently in line with arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority. They include information on woodland area, planting, timber, trade, carbon, environment, social, 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 summary are:

  • The area of woodland in the United Kingdom at 31 March 2021 is estimated to be 3.2 million hectares; 1.41 million hectares (44%) are independently certified as sustainably managed.
  • 13.3 thousand hectares of new woodland were created in the UK in 2020-21.
  • 10.7 million green tonnes of UK roundwood (softwood and hardwood) were delivered to primary wood processors and others in 2020, representing a 3% decrease from the previous year.
  • Wood products imported into the UK in 2020 were valued at £7.5 billion and included 7.2 million cubic metres of sawnwood, 3.3 million cubic metres of wood-based panels, 9.1 million tonnes of wood pellets and 4.4 million tonnes of paper.
  • The total area of native woodland in Great Britain is estimated to be around 1.51 million hectares (49% of all woodland in Great Britain).
  • Around two thirds (69%) of respondents to the UK Public Opinion of Forestry Survey 2021 had visited forests or woodlands in the last few years. Of those, 36% reported an increase in the number of visits in the last 12 months
  • The Annual Business Survey reported average employment in 2019 of 18 thousand in forestry, 7 thousand in sawmilling and 5 thousand in panel mills.
  • Gross Value added (GVA) in primary wood processing (sawmilling, panels and pulp & paper) was £1.57 billion in the UK in 2019. GVA in forestry was £0.65 billion.
  • The UK was the second largest net importer (imports less exports) of forest products in 2019, behind China.

All fascinating stuff which also highlights the need for more Great British Timber!

 

Source: Forest Research (FR) which is the research agency of the Forestry Commission (FC) and Great Britain’s principal organisation for forestry and tree-related research. FR is internationally renowned for the provision of science, research, evidence, data and services in support of sustainable forestry.
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