New report charts growth of Scottish forestry sector

3 December 2015

The contribution made by Scotland’s forestry sector to the country’s economy has increased to nearly £1bn from £670m in 2008, according to a new report.

The new Forestry Commission Scotland report, launched by Scottish environment minister Dr Aileen McLeod, also shows that employment in the forest management and processing sector has grown 50% (by 6,500 people) to over 19,500 people since the previous report back in 2008.

The forestry sector, which also including tourism and recreation, supporting over 25,000 jobs in total across Scotland.

Timber production is currently sitting at record levels of 7.5 million tonnes per annum compared with around 5 million tonnes in 2008.

“Scottish forestry is very much a hidden success story,” said Dr 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.

“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.

Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confor, said the report demonstrated the growing importance of Scotland’s forest based industry to both rural areas and the national economy. “It’s an industry that has bucked the trend and posted impressive growth since the downturn in 2008.”