UK facing timber resource crunch - WWF

15 August 2016

Environmental group WWF says the UK is facing a timber resource crunch unless it moves to sustainable supply practices.

WWF said UK forest businesses had grave concerns over the future of domestic softwood supply and that global demand for timber was expected to triple by 2050. This growth is due to an increase in demand of wood and paper products from growing economies and populations.

WWF’s “100% sustainable timber markets: the economic and business case” report suggests by 2050 less than 22% of timber supplied in the UK market will be grown in Britain.

WWF also says leading countries that supply timber to the UK are either at the point of expiry or running at a deficit as forest resources are used without adequate provision for sustainable timber supply.

The organisation also says many countries are running low on their own timber resources, with Brazil having only 16 years of timber forests remaining, South Africa 7 years, Colombia 12 years, Mexico 9 years, Nigeria 11 years, Thailand 9 years and Pakistan 10 years.

WWF says as the international market for timber will change in its dynamics in the next decades, without urgent action UK businesses who have failed to adequately plan for continuity of their timber resource could be left exposed with fewer commercial options.

“We can no longer rely on our usual sources of timber as unsustainable practices are having devastating consequences on forests, and we face a real danger of not having enough timber to satisfy our growing population needs,” said Julia Young, Global Forest and Trade Network manager for WWF-UK.

“Businesses need to review how their timber is sourced if they want to secure supply for the future, and in keeping timber prices stable.

“The UK Government must lead by example and address sustainable forest use in the urgently upcoming 25 year plan for nature.”