The Forest Policy Group believes that forestry could and should contribute much more to the economy than it presently does, and through small to medium scale enterprises. We need much more resilient and sustainable forestry to achieve this partly to ensure that we still have forests through the coming decades of climate change, and partly to produce the range of forest products, including hardwoods, that support thriving local businesses.
For a century, Scottish forestry has focussed on fast growing softwoods (mainly Sitka spruce) to the neglect of other species. Our wood processing sector has become highly centralised (often distant from the forest) while many smaller local sawmills and other forestry businesses have been lost. Scotland’s uniquely skewed pattern of land ownership means that most ordinary people are denied opportunities to own or manage small areas of forest.
The Forest Policy Group’s convenes occasional roundtable discussions to review policy and share ideas and experiences. Contributors include foresters, conservationists, sawmillers and others with a knowledge of aspects of Scottish forestry and an interest in helping it deliver more jobs, businesses, quality products and a better environment. Recent work includes reports to Scottish Forestry on the contribution of small wood-based businesses to the economy, and profiles of small rural wood-based businesses.