Has commercial timber production become an ‘inconvenient truth’?

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The public outcry that followed the recent proposal to sell state owned forests in England highlighted the disjunction between the general public and the commercial forestry sector in their respective understanding of the purpose of forests. The production side of forest management was hardly mentioned in the ‘debate’ that almost entirely focused on the fear that access to forests would be lost under private ownership. Given that the global use of timber is set to increase substantially through increasing population and carbon mitigation schemes, it is remarkable that future timber security is not perceived as a priority in Britain; a country that is a major importer of timber and timber products. This paper suggests that the narrow view of the purpose of forests embraced by the general public is largely the fault of the forestry industry due to its failure to adequately inform the public of the long-term economic need for timber production. Proposals for future policy directions are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-16
Number of pages5
JournalScottish Forestry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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