Industry News

Confor launches new website to better promote forestry and wood sector

The Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) has launched its new website.

Along with member information and a library of key documentation, the website highlights the benefits that forestry and wood sector brings to the UK economy.

In this view, the new online platform features relevant media contents including four short videos, which look at the breadth of forestry and wood's contribution.

"This has been a very successful year for Confor so far and the website launch continues the positive momentum," said Confor's Chief Executive Stuart Goodall.

"We recognised some time ago that there was a clear need for simple visual materials to tell the forestry and timber story to a wider audience. We were delighted by Our Forests Our People and the positive reaction to it, and the animation has built on this. The new videos take things a step further by appealing to different audiences and building out from the core messages."

"To be a successful sector, we need to tackle outdated misperceptions and demonstrate the significant benefits we provide to society. This website, and our continuing efforts to promote forestry and timber through the media, are vital to achieving that goal.”

The new website is live here:


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Woodland Trust to plant 4 million trees in 2016

The Woodland Trust - UK largest woodland conservation charity - has pledged to plant 4 million trees in 2016, 1.5 million more than in 2015.

Whether put into practise, the plan would create 2,000 ha of new woodlands in the UK.

As announced in the Annual Review 2015, the Woodland Trust will also "fight to preserve the 588 ancient woods currently at risk from inappropriate development and grow a 250-strong network of volunteer 'threat spotters' to stick up for trees and woods".

Thirdly, the Trust has committed to restore 3,000 ha of degraded ancient woodland, "gradually thinning non-native conifer plantations so that broadleaf trees and wildlife can bounce back".

The Trust already owns more than 1,000 woods and is planning to expand its estate by almost 10% a year on average. The charity will also work to create 10 geographical 'focus areas' to target regions where "we are able to make the biggest possible impact on woodland habitats and wildlife"

Read the Woodland Trust Annual Review 2015 and the 10-year strategic plan.


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EU land and forestry policy can help Europe be more ambitious on climate, new Fern study claims

A new study by the Oeko-Institut and the forest and rights NGO Fern suggests the EU could set a positive precedent for international climate policy if it developed a separate pillar with its own target for the so called ‘LULUCF’ sector.

LULUCF (Land use, Land Use Change and Forestry) is one of the most hotly debated topics of the EU’s climate and energy package. The European Commission will shortly publish a proposal for how to integrate LULUCF in the climate package.

According to Fern, creating a separate pillar would prevent the EU from using temporary carbon removals from forests and land to dilute the Effort Sharing Decision.

Hannes Boettcher lead author of the study said: “LULUCF is at a crossroads – depending on how rules are set and where it is integrated in the overall package, it could either increase or decrease the EU’s greenhouse gas target. In this study, we suggest developing a separate pillar with specific criteria the EU could use to design a meaningful target to incentivise better climate performance in LULUCF.”

Fern’s forest and climate campaigner, Hannah Mowat, added: “As every year is hotter than the last, Fern believes we need action on all fronts, reducing emissions and restoring degraded landscapes. Our policies need to reflect that. This needs to be done with and by local communities who are affected by land use decisions and have the right to be involved.”

To read the study in full click here.


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Confor publishes EU discussion paper to foster debate in Westminster

The Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) has published a discussion paper - available here - highlighting the key issues the forestry sector needs to consider ahead of the EU referendum in June.

The paper, written by Guy Watt of John Clegg Consulting, has been discussed today at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry in Westminster.

The document examines six main areas where decisions made at European level have direct or indirect impacts on the forestry and timber industry: - Direct Financial Support from the EU; - Regulations, Red Tape & Bureaucracy;- Trade; - Plant Health; - Labour Market & Controlling UK Borders; - The Economy.

The discussion paper also gives consideration to the data coming from the Confor poll on Brexit. According to the Confederation online survey, 52 per cent of the voters is currently in favour of remaining a member of the European Union, while 48 per cent says they would prefer to leave.

Almost one-third (31 per cent) of the survey participants thinks to not have received enough information on the EU referendum - and even the discussion paper's author concludes that "there are some facts for people to use, but there are also plenty of unknowns".

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, commented: "This short paper sets down the issues in a dispassionate and straightforward way. We know that our members have a range of views on whether the UK should remain part of, or leave, the European Union - and we also know that some of them think there is not enough information available to make a clear decision. That's why we commissioned this discussion paper, which will hopefully provide some helpful background and assist them in making an informed decision."


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Forestry Commission publishes 25-year Softwood availability forecast for UK

The Forestry Commission has recently released a NFI (National Forest Inventory) summary report of the 25-year forecast of softwood availability for the UK.

The Forecasts, covering the period 2017-2041, are calculated by taking the ‘current’ woodland structure and applying the Forestry Commission’s growth and yield models to grow the woodland into the future. By applying a range of management scenarios (describing harvesting and restocking regimes) The Forestry Commission has forecasted the future timber availability and the corresponding growing stock in the woodland.

According to the report, softwood availability will change over the period in exam; it is expected to increase from 18.1 million m3 per annum in 2017–21 to 19.3 million m3 per annum in 2027–31 before reducing to 16.8 million m3 per annum in 2037–41.

In terms of volume, the forecast of softwood availability for the UK forest estate is an average of 18.3 million m3 of softwood timber per annum over the 25-year period. The forecast for England is an average of 4.1 million m3 per annum; for Scotland 11.9 million m3 ; for Wales 1.8 million m3 ; and for Northern Ireland 0.5 million m3 . 

These figures assume that FC/NRW/FS estate and Private sector estate profiles are different. Over the forecast period, the Forestry Commission (FC), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Forest Service (FS) [FC/NRW/FS] estate will show an overall reduction in forecast availability  with an average of 5.5 million m3 per annum for the next 25 years, if existing forest management plans are followed and production is not constrained.

On the contrary, over the next 25 years, the Private sector estate will experience an overall increase. The upturn will run for the first half of the forecast period and will be followed by a decline in the second half of the period, with annual availability in the last period (2037–41) returning to a level similar to the 2017–21 period. The potential availability of softwood timber from the Private sector estate for the UK is expected to reach an average of 12.2 million m3 per annum. 

For the complete report click here.


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