To relieve strain on global forests, a forestry trade organisation has encouraged the UK to take greater responsibility for its own future wood supply.
In the first big announcement at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, more than 100 world leaders will promise to cease – and reverse – deforestation by 2030.
“Responsibility for global forests must start at home,” said Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confor.
While global demand for wood is expected to rise, the UK is expected to produce less home-grown wood in the decade running up to 2050, making it the second largest net importer behind China.
“With global demand for lumber expected to rise dramatically, the only way to avoid putting pressure on our fragile forests abroad is to grow more wood here at home,” Mr Goodall added.
“This entails specifically establishing more forests in the UK to generate more of the timber that the UK requires.”
Mr Goodall said that massive amounts of wood will be required to decarbonize housebuilding and construction and to replace more energy-intensive materials like concrete and steel.
“The UK government talks the talk about forests and timber, but it doesn’t do the walk,” he continued.
“If it doesn’t do more to create wood here in the UK, it’ll be signalling its intention to export the UK’s own forest footprint to other nations, which isn’t the global leadership the world needs.”
“”By planting millions more trees in well-managed, modern, mixed-species forests, the UK can support the fight against climate change while also providing benefits to people and animals.””
“Turning the triple bottom line of social, environmental, and economic advantages into a triple top line is a win-win-win.”
“By doing so, the UK Government can begin to take a genuine leadership role in the future of our world’s forests.”