In the UK we sometimes take our forests, woodland and green space for granted, but you may be surprised to learn that the UK is one of the least wooded areas in Europe. Only 13% of our landmass is woodland, which is far less than the European average of 37%. So why is this important and why do we need our forests or woodland?
Most of us are aware that our woodland is an important habitat for wildlife and that they provide areas we can explore with friends and family. However our trees are playing a key role in how our world is adapting and counteracting the effects of climate change. For example 5.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide is sequestered from the atmosphere by managed forests in the UK alone and in turn these trees produce oxygen essential for life. Our trees also play a really important role in the UK economy, with the wood processing alone providing 64,000 jobs in the UK.
The key to further success? Sustainable forestry, allowing our forests and the industry they support to thrive.
The question is what do we mean by sustainable forestry? Different people will give you differing answers to this question, but let’s think of it as forest management which maximises the social, economic and environmental benefits of a forest while addressing forest degradation and deforestation. Managing forests and woodland is nothing new – in the UK we been managing our forests for thousands of years already.
It is akin to the more common place agricultural farming in many ways but on a far longer time scale. On average it takes 30-50 years before trees are ready to harvest. In actual fact if we look over the North Sea to Scandinavia the farmers are also the foresters. As in Scandinavian countries the farmers plant crops and farm livestock in the hospitable basins of the valleys and plant trees to harvest on the inhospitable hill tops.
In the UK we are seen as leaders in sustainable forest management aiming to maximise productivity without forgetting the importance of maintaining and expanding our wooded areas. The life cycle of wood – from the growing of seedlings, to planting, managing and harvesting the trees, to the processing of the raw material to produce thousands of products from timber to paper to WoodBlocX and renewable energy products is vital for sustaining the vibrant industry we have here in the UK.
WoodBlocX is proud to support the UK forestry industry, sustainability and our woodlands. So join us in not taking our woodland for granted!
www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/publications/ – (www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/publications/2011/11/state-of-the-uk-forests-woods-and-trees/)
www.forestryscotland.com – (www.forestryscotland.com/forestry/strategy)