Forestry Commission Highlights Need for Wood Conservation

The Forestry Commission has revealed the pressing need to step up wood conservation in the UK, after official figures published this week again exposed Britain’s over-reliance on imported timber.

The most recent figures showed that in 2010 some £6.8 million worth of wood products were imported into Britain, comprising some 10 million cubic metres of wood – a 19 per cent increase compared to the previous year. The amount of wood imported was equivalent to around 80 per cent of the timber requirements of the UK building, crafts and engineering industries.

Areas where wood production is still a priority, such as Scotland are contributing as much as they can, with Scotland home to over 50 per cent of the domestic supplies of oak beams and other forms of timber – however, high demand is also having a negative effect on wood conservation, with foresters cutting more wood than is being replanted.

A 2009 report on the world’s forests by the Food and Agriculture Organisation said that the world population is growing by 3 per cent each year, and timber use is increasing in its turn, especially in fast-developing countries such as India and China and India. As a result, the UK needs to pay more attention to wood conservation – particularly since it is one of the world’s greatest net importers of timber.