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Indicators for economic aspects

View the economic aspects chapter of 'UK Indicators of Sustainable Forestry', as published in October 2002.

Any recent developments, and links to additional information, are shown below.

F1. Financial return from forestry

F2. Value added in forestry

F3. Value added in wood processing

F4. Employment

The forest employment survey used for this indicator (F4) is intended to cover all employment related to British forestry, including primary wood processing. This is a different scope from the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) divisions used for indicators F2 and F3. For wood processing, SICs 20 and 21 have a much wider scope, as they include primary processing of imported material and also some secondary processing. For other forest-related employment, SIC 02 has a narrower scope, as it does not include activities like timber haulage.

Employment for these SIC divisions (average employment in year), taken from the ONS Annual Business Inquiry (ABI), now the Annual Business Survey (ABS) is shown in Forestry Statistics (Table 7.1).

F5. Social & environmental benefits

  • A study was produced for the Forestry Commission in 2003 to estimate the values of social and environmental benefits of forests. The benefits were estimated to add up to around £1000 million a year for GB. The values may be updated as improvements in methods of valuation are achieved.

    • The value of woodland recreation was estimated to be around £400 million a year, based on a marginal value of £1.66 per visit to sample sites.
    • The non-use value for woodland biodiversity was also estimated to be around £400 million a year, for ancient semi-natural woodland, new broadleaved woodlands and recent restructuring of conifer forests; these values were estimated separately for England, Scotland and Wales and added to obtain a GB total.
    • The landscape value of broadleaved woodlands around towns, seen by residents and commuters, was estimated to be around £150 million a year.
    • The value of carbon sequestration was estimated to be about £100 million, based on a value of £6.67 per tonne of carbon.
    • The study was unable to identify substantial values for any other benefits, such as the health benefits of woodland air pollution absorption, forests' impact on water supplies and quality, or the protection of archaeological sites. In some cases this could be because of incomplete scientific understanding or the study's scope, and values might be established by further investigation.
  • A study published in 2006 on Valuing Forest Recreation Activities analysed the values for different groups of users (mountain bikers, horse riders, etc), mostly at specialist sites, giving much higher values for all types of user.  Reports are available from our economic research page.

  • In July 2009 the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published a new approach to carbon valuation, consistent with government targets for carbon reduction.  For activities like forestry that are not covered by carbon trading, the shadow price per tonne of carbon dioxide is £50 in 2008, rising to £60 in 2020, £70 in 2030 and £200 in 2050, with a range of +/-50% around these central estimates.  A shadow price of £50 per tonne of carbon dioxide is equivalent to £183 per tonne of carbon, more than 20 times the real value used in the 2003 study.  Applying these values for carbon to the results from the 2003 study, the value of carbon sequestration in UK forests would be greater than all the other social and environmental benefits combined.


Last updated: 2nd February 2016