Forestry ‘now £1bn sector with 25,000 jobs’

Scotland’s forestry sector now contributes nearly £1 billion to the economy through forest management, timber processing and recreation and supports about 25,000 jobs, according to a new report.

About 19,500 people now work in forest management and processing alone, 6,500 more than in 2008, according to the report on the economic contribution of the forestry sector in Scotland.

“This report demonstrates the growing importance of Scotland’s forest based industry to both rural areas and the national economy, an industry that has bucked the trend and posted impressive growth since the downturn in 2008,” said Stuart Goodall, chief executive of CONFOR, the trade association for the wood and forestry sector.

“Scotland has some of the most technologically advanced sawmills in the world and the maturing of the forestry sector is supporting an increasing number and variety of relatively well-paid rural jobs.”

When a previous report into the economics of forestry was carried out in 2008, timber production was around 5 million tonnes each year — and today it has touched record levels of 7.5 million tonnes.

“Scottish forestry is very much a hidden success story,” said environment minister Aileen McLeod.

“It’s no surprise that given the increase in timber production over the past seven years that the sector’s contribution to the Scottish economy has grown with it.

“However, it is the size of the economic growth that is really impressive. And the 50 per cent increase in employment within the timber sector is brilliant news …

“Whilst this report focuses on the economics, we should not forget the other key benefits that forestry brings too. Our forests and woodlands create beautiful landscapes, are crucial in mitigating climate change and are increasingly recognised for the positive impacts they have on people’s health and well-being.”

Read the full report here: