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The National Forest Inventory “50-year forecast of softwood availability” and “50-year forecast of hardwood availability” were published in April 2014. They are forecasts of potential availability rather than production, as they do not take account of management objectives, financial factors or the state of markets, all of which will affect the level of and timing of harvesting.
More information on the forecasts and detailed breakdowns are available on the National Forest Inventory web pages at www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/national-forest-inventory/
The forecasts are outside the scope of National Statistics, but are provided here to give more context to the data on wood production.
As these forecasts were produced in 2014, they do not take into account any of the findings from the ‘preliminary estimates of the changes in canopy cover in British woodlands between 2006 and 2015’, released in August 2016.
The key assumptions underpinning the headline softwood forecast scenario include:
Under the above scenario, softwood availability for Great Britain averages 15.2 million cubic metres a year over the 50-year period 2013 to 2061 (Table 2.4a). The majority (66%) of this softwood is projected to come from private sector woodland.
Table 2.4a Softwood availability forecasts
|Annual average in the period||England||Wales||Scotland||GB|
|thousand cubic metres overbark standing|
|2013 – 2016||1632||1082||4220||6933|
|2017 – 2021||1330||991||3658||5980|
|2022 – 2026||1211||895||3516||5622|
|2027 – 2031||1159||778||3789||5726|
|2032 – 2036||1066||934||3215||5216|
|2037 – 2041||1013||794||2936||4744|
|2042 – 2046||1055||531||2730||4316|
|2047 – 2051||1014||585||3280||4879|
|2052 – 2056||828||495||2886||4209|
|2057 – 2061||1250||679||2339||4269|
|2013 – 2016||2945||901||5708||9554|
|2017 – 2021||3225||949||6997||11171|
|2022 – 2026||2903||1087||7830||11820|
|2027 – 2031||2986||775||8910||12671|
|2032 – 2036||2850||736||8847||12433|
|2037 – 2041||2224||679||8133||11035|
|2042 – 2046||1848||490||6527||8865|
|2047 – 2051||1523||521||4986||7030|
|2052 – 2056||1431||734||5679||7845|
|2057 – 2061||1603||694||5627||7924|
|2013 – 2016||4577||1983||9928||16487|
|2017 – 2021||4555||1940||10656||17151|
|2022 – 2026||4113||1982||11346||17442|
|2027 – 2031||4145||1553||12700||18398|
|2032 – 2036||3916||1670||12062||17649|
|2037 – 2041||3237||1473||11069||15779|
|2042 – 2046||2903||1021||9257||13181|
|2047 – 2051||2537||1106||8266||11909|
|2052 – 2056||2259||1229||8566||12054|
|2057 – 2061||2853||1373||7966||12193|
Source: National Forest Inventory: 50-year forecast of softwood availability (Forestry Commission, April 2014)3
1. The estate of the Forestry Commission and Natural Resources Wales is assumed to be managed according to current management plans; note both Forestry Commission Scotland and Natural Resources Wales intend to cap production below the level set out in Table 2.4a.
2. Private woodland is assumed to be managed in a way that maximises total production.
3. More recent softwood availability forecasts, covering a 25 year period only, are available from the NFI web pages at www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/national-forest-inventory/how-our-woodlands-might-change-over-time-8211-nfi-forecast-reports/.
4. An update to these figures is due to be published in 2020.
5. To convert softwood ‘overbark standing’ into green tonnes multiply by 0.818. See the Sources chapter for more details on conversion factors.
These figures are outside the scope of National Statistics. For further information see the Sources chapter.
Sources chapter: Timber
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