Making returns from woodland and forestry in the UK is a long-term business and there are new risks that can affect financial returns from woodland.
There are also new opportunities. The area of new woodland planting needed in the UK to absorb carbon dioxide to reduce climate change is massive – over 1 million hectares – especially when compared with historical planting rates.
For any new planting, the starting point must be the economics of growing different species, which relates to length of rotation, growth rate and the expected value of the timber. This can all be planned in advance and monitored through the life of the planting. We should consider tree management in just as much detail as the best agronomists manage their crops.
This briefing note summarises how we, as woodland managers, can establish and manage woodland that will meet owners’ financial objectives by being more resilient to the effects of climate change and the risks from pests and diseases. This will include changing what we plant and how we manage it.