Is this really the end of UK forestry?

Will Anderson Will at drumin.demon.co.uk
Sun Mar 8 08:48:33 EST 1998


In article <6dolad$aos$1 at nnrp1.dejanews.com>, u04hjb at abdn.ac.uk writes

>   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. 
Many owners will still carry out thinning so long as there is no net
loss on the operation because they are aware of your statement above.
Thinning will be stopped in the more marginal and difficult to access
sites first, as price drops, therefore the effect on quality stands may
be less than at first it might appear.

> The other option will be to fell at a loss and give up
>the land to other devt's. 
Ho Ho! Try getting an unconditional felling licence on that basis<G>

>With the govt. announcement of the need for 4
>million homes, it easy to guess where land owners will target their land!!
I agree with Joseph, we should be targetting redevelopment to derelict
urban or industrial areas not paving over the countryside.

>  Are there any answers??

Dont be too depressed by the apparent "doom and gloom" being spread
around in forestry circles at the moment. As I am reliably informed
(being too youthful to have experienced it first hand<G>) UK forestry is
cyclical in nature.

There have been similar depressions but everyone thinks the current one
is the worst ever. The issues involved in each are too complex to go
into in detail but, just as food for thought:
The difficulties in marketing of small roundwood in the 1970's due to
collapse of pitwood markets. This lead to export of timber then
subsidised investment in new processing plants leading to the large
number of processing mills we have today.

As for answers:

What about the redirection of small roundwood into the energy production
market to take up some of the overproduction. With the forescast rise in
timber output in the UK and the question over the quality of sawlogs
produced from some of the wider spaced plantings of the 70's and 80's,
could we see sawlogs being sent for energy chip?

Dont let the pessimists get to you. No one is saying that solving the
looming problems in UK forestry will be easy but they will not get
solved if the industry sits on its thumbs and moans about it. We need
good innovators to sort out the marketing difficulties coming up in the
next 20-30 years, that should be right in the middle of your career
span. Feel up to the challenge<VBG>

-- 
Will Anderson           will at drumin.demon.co.uk



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