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Scotland’s forestry adds £1 billion to the economy

Scotland’s forestry sector is contributing nearly £1 billion to the economy through forest management, timber processing and recreation, according to a new report. Source: Herald Scotland

Forestry Commission Scotland said the total represents a substantial increase compared to the figure of £670 million contained in the last report.

Experts also recorded a jobs boost in the forest management and processing sector, with more than 19,500 people now working in the industry – a jump of 6500, or around 50%, compared with the previous report of 2008.

Overall, the forestry sector, including tourism and recreation, was found to support more than 25,000 jobs across Scotland.

Scotland’s Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod is launching the new Forestry Commission Scotland report and described Scottish forestry as “a hidden success story”.

“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,” she said.

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

“With projected increases in wood fibre availability over the next 20 years and the industry’s appetite for innovation, adding value and investment, the Scottish Government looks forward to continuing to support this important sector.

“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.”

The previous report into the economics of forestry was carried out in 2008 when timber production was around 5 million tonnes each year.

Timber production is currently sitting at record levels of 7.5 million tonnes per annum, Forestry Commission Scotland said.

Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confor, the trade association which promotes wood and forestry, said: “It is a unique sector, the only established industry where greater economic activity reduces carbon in the atmosphere, a topical achievement as the world comes together in Paris in December to tackle climate change.”