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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

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Confor presses for new carbon fund for productive forestry

Author:  Confor
  20/10/2016
Last Updated:  20/10/2016

Confor has written to England forestry Minister Thérèse Coffey to press for additional funding to plant productive forests in England, following the UK’s signing of the Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emissions.

“Tree planting is a low-cost way to meet the UK Government’s carbon reduction targets, and now that the UK has signed the Paris Agreement, Confor believes that additional funding should be provided to support more new planting”,

explained chief executive Stuart Goodall.

The letter proposes that the new forests contain a significant proportion of productive softwood trees. These fast growing trees sequester carbon more quickly and, when harvested, they lock that carbon up in wood products, especially when used in construction. Carbon locked up in these “Harvested Wood Products” is also eligible to be accounted for in the UK’s greenhouse gas reporting when the wood produced comes from UK forests.

Finished product awaiting despatch at Ransford sawmill

Planting more productive forestry would also support the English forestry and timber industry which faces a shortfall of wood in coming years that will damage the rural economy. The UK sawmilling, panel board and wood energy sectors are facing a falling off in supply from the 2030s, threatening hundreds of jobs in rural areas where there are often few alternative sources of employment. The challenge is set out very clearly in the report Wood Fibre Availability and Demand in Britain 2013-2035 prepared for the industry and Forestry Commission.

Since the publication of the report Combating Climate Change - a role for UK forests in 2009 there has been clear evidence that planting trees is a low-cost way to sequester carbon and help the Government meet its demanding greenhouse gas reduction targets. Trees planted now will have particular impact in the 2030s and 2040s when the UK will be struggling with ever harder actions to reduce emissions ahead of 2050.