Our MD calls for more forestry planting to include conifers

An article in Horticulture Week entitled ‘Softwood felled for plant health doubles’ (Horticulture Week 29 May 2015) prompted our managing director Andy Chalmers to write to editor Kate Lowe to highlight a current and extremely serious issue affecting UK Forestry and future timber supply.

Andy highlighted the fact that the current level of new woodland and forest planting has dropped from in excess of 26,000 hectares per year, during the late 1980’s, to about 13,000 hectares per year duringthe 2013/14 season. He writes of what he knows: Andy started his working life on the tools in the forest and has been associated with forestry and timber ever since.

“The majority of trees planted are broadleaved species:  Oak, Ash, Beech, Sycamore and the like,” he wrote. “There was virtually no conifer planting of species such as Pine, Spruce, Larch, and Douglas Fir. Peak forest production will be reached within 5 – 15 years then start to seriously decline.The forest industry has been the subject of many high profile reports produced over recent years, clearly setting out the sound case for new and substantially increased planting of conifer crops but nothing is being done. Trees not planted today, will not be there to be harvested in 50 – 100 years time, not least  because our politicians think only in 5 year cycles.”

If you’d like to talk about the issues with Andy please do get in touch