Scottish timber industry enjoying boom time

Scotland's timber industry is going from strength to strength as this year's timber harvesting is the highest ever recorded.

The most recent figures for 2011 show seven and a half million cubic metres were harvested - up half a million on the previous year.

At the same time, Scotland's sawmillers were producing seven per cent more sawn timber with much of it being sent to markets in England.

Overall, timber prices are two per cent higher in real terms compared to last year and favourable exchange rates are helping Scots businesses boost the home market as imports reduce.

Welcoming the news, Environment & Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

"In a difficult global economic environment this is excellent news and goes to show that Scotland's forestry sector is in robust good health.

"As a mainstay of our rural economy, forestry plays a vital role in safeguarding communities and businesses across the country - and is increasingly winning a bigger stake in the domestic and international timber markets.

"The other good news is that Scotland's forests are maturing and over the next 10-15 years we expect to see further increases in harvesting. This should result in a steadier supply and bigger volumes of timber produced from Scotland's forests.

"This is an excellent position from which to build a stronger sector in the years to come."

The forestry sector contributes £670 million each year to the Scottish economy and supports around 31,000 jobs, mainly in rural areas.

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor added:

"Timber is a successful industry of which Scotland should be proud. It is indigenous, low-carbon and, if future supplies of wood are secured, has the potential to attract continued investment and deliver even more growth and jobs."