The return to commercial forestry coincides with Scotland’s strong commitment to sustainability and the preservation of our natural environment. Timber is a much more sustainable construction material – producing concrete uses five times as much energy as wood, and steel uses six times as much.
Forestry and timber is worth around £1 billion to Scotland’s economy and employs around 20,000 people directly and 40,000 indirectly. Many of those jobs are in rural areas. The sector already makes a positive contribution to reducing carbon emissions, with carbon locked up in both forests and in processed timber products, while delivering a diverse range of other public benefits.
Choosing timber over other building materials saves an average of 0.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per cubic metre. By using timber-frame construction, three tonnes of CO2 can be saved from the 20 tonne CO2 footprint of a typical three bedroom detached house. By 2016, zero-carbon homes will be standard for all new build, and wood is the strongest candidate to achieve this target.