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Timber

Introduction

This page provides an overview of the sources for the timber statistics presented in Chapter 2; more detailed information is provided on the following pages.

The chapter covers wood production (removals) from UK woodland, and consumption and production by primary wood processors in the UK.  The timber statistics presented cover both softwood (wood from coniferous trees such as spruce, pine and larch) and hardwood (wood from non-coniferous trees such as oak, birch and beech).  Please refer to the Glossary for an explanation of the terms used.

Quantities of wood can be expressed in different units.  Conversion factors can be used to convert between units.

Data sources and methodology

Statistics on timber are obtained from a number of sources.  For wood production (removals), data are compiled from:

  • Administrative records of removals from Forestry England (FE), Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Northern Ireland Forest Service (FS) woodlands;
  • the Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey for softwood removals from private sector woodlands and
  • deliveries of hardwood to wood processing industries (see below) for total hardwood removals.

There is no source of data for hardwood removals from private sector woodlands, so these are estimated to be:

  • deliveries of hardwood to wood processing industries (see below) less
  • hardwood removals from FE/FLS/NRW/FS woodlands.

Timber availability forecasts are obtained from the “50 year forecast of softwood availability” and the “50 year forecast of hardwood availability”, released in April 2014 and available here: National Forest Inventory – Forest Research.

Deliveries are estimated from the following sources:

  • the Sawmill Survey;
  • the Wood Panel Industries Federation (for wood-based panels);
  • the Confederation of Forest Industries, Confor (for integrated pulp and paper mills);
  • the Confederation of Paper Industries (for paper production);
  • the Survey of Round Fencing Manufacturers;
  • the Private Sector Softwood Removals Survey (for softwood deliveries to woodfuel);
  • shavings manufacturers;
  • companies believed to export roundwood and/or chips.

Estimates are also provided by the Expert Group on Timber and Trade Statistics: Expert Group on Timber and Trade Statistics – Forest Research.

The Methodology note: UK wood production, available at Methodology and Outputs – Forest Research sets out the data analysis methods used to produce annual estimates of UK wood production.

Quality

Detailed information on the quality of the statistics presented in this publication is available in the Quality Report: UK Wood Production and Trade.

Further quality information on our Official Statistics, including separate reports for each of the industry surveys used in this release, is available here: Quality of Official Statistics – Forest Research.

Revisions

Figures for 2018 and earlier years have been previously published. They are however subject to revisions from those published in “UK Wood Production and Trade: 2018 provisional figures” and previous publications, to reflect late updates to administrative or survey data. Further details on any revisions made are provided in the following pages.

Information on significant revisions to published statistics is provided in the quality report on UK Wood Production and Trade, available from our Quality web page here: Quality of Official Statistics – Forest Research.

Our revisions policy sets out how revisions and errors to these statistics are dealt with, and can be found here: FC Revisions Policy.

Further information

Most of these statistics are used to compile data that are sent to international organisations in the Joint Forest Sector Questionnaires, in some cases giving more detail than in this release.  These returns are published as Official Statistics on the Forest Research website; provisional figures in May and final figures in September/ October.  The statistics are used by Eurostat Forestry Statistics, UNECE Timber Bulletins, and UN/FAO Forest Product Statistics and are published on the FAOSTAT database (http://faostat3.fao.org).  Summary results from the FAOSTAT database are provided in the International Forestry chapter.

The definitions used in this publication are consistent with the international definitions, as given in the Joint Forest Sector Questionnaire definitions, available at www.fao.org/forestry/statistics/80572/en/.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (previously the UNECE Timber Committee) also collects, on an annual basis, estimates for the current year and projections for the following year of wood production, imports and exports.  Results are available on the UNECE website (www.unece.org/forests/fpm/timbercommittee.html).  Copies of UK returns for the UNECE Timber Forecast Questionnaire are available at UNECE Timber Forecast Questionnaire – Forest Research.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy publishes an annual Digest of UK Energy Statistics (www.gov.uk/government/collections/digest-of-uk-energy-statistics-dukes).  Chapter 7 of this digest covers renewable sources of energy including wood.  Figures for wood use in renewable energy statistics take into account wood from all sources (including processed wood, recycled wood and imports), not just UK-grown roundwood.

Release schedule

Provisional figures for 2019 will be released on 14 May 2020 in “UK Wood Production and Trade: 2019 provisional figures”.

Final figures for 2019 will be released on 24 September 2020 in “Forestry Statistics 2020” and “Forestry Facts & Figures 2020”.

Additional resources

Chapter 2: UK-Grown Timber

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