Is this really the end of UK forestry?

u04hjb at abdn.ac.uk u04hjb at abdn.ac.uk
Fri Mar 6 06:06:43 EST 1998


After attendance to two Aberdeen University arranged lectures I have been lead
to the belief that the UK forestry industry is in it's worst period for some
time. It is becoming a school of thought amongst academics that the UK would
be better placed concentrating on the production of recreation rather than
timber forests. Does this mean that the British forester in ten years time
will have more in common with a theme park manager than a bloody tree
manager??
   The recent collapse of Pacific Asian economies has had serious implications
for the exporters such as Canada, US and Finland. All of whom export to Japan,
who have taken advanage of the cheaper timber from the tiger economies
that is now available. This creates an export excess, which has to be found a
market. The most logical place is the UK due to our poor forest reserve in
comparison with the rest of Europe. This combined with the flooding of timber
from the Baltic states desperate for hard currency, is going to lead to a
substantial rise in supply and competition with all the price problems that
market saturation can cause.
   Then you have to take into accont the current problems with prices for sawn
and pulp wood, to the extent that thinning has almost ground to a halt in an
attempt to halt expenses. (This has an implication as no thinning in
plantation woodlands makes your crop less economically and silviculturally
productive. Thus meaning that indigenously produced timber in 10-20years, the
supposed boom of UK timber from the 70's planting will become uncompetitive
and over priced, dendering itself open to the spectre of the cheaper large
exporting countries.) The other option will be to fell at a loss and give up
the land to other devt's. With the govt. announcement of the need for 4
million homes, it easy to guess where land owners will target their land!!
  Are there any answers??
  Please reply to Hayden Bennett
   e-mail : u04hjb at abdn.ac.uk


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