The lack of recruitment of young people is the biggest threat to Scottish forest industries, a survey by the South Scotland Forest Industries Cluster (SSFIC) has revealed.

The survey of people in the forest industries of south Scotland found that only 5% of the workforce is under 25 and 10% is female, with the average age 46 and a fifth of the workforce planning to retire in the next five years.

And according to SSFIC, this has highlighted the need to “retain and recruit the people who will resource our forest industry into the future” and negate the “apparent lack of recruitment into the industry against the back-drop of an ageing workforce”.

However, while the survey of 370 workers also revealed that some industries suffer with low pay, excessive red tape and bad management, the ability to work in the countryside, undertake varied and challenging jobs and have a degree of freedom in workplace are plus points for the sector.