The wood processing industries require detailed knowledge of product properties to compete with other materials.
Forestry in Europe is evolving a multi-purpose role in which concerns over the environment, biodiversity and the provision of amenity and recreational facilities match the more traditional requirements of timber production. As this policy evolves and the impact of diversifying management practice becomes apparent, the demand for forecasting and decision-support systems to inform the management of multi-purpose forests and its effects on the forestry woodchain also increases.
Knowledge of the quality of standing timber and its impacts on production, processing and design throughout the forestry woodchain are emerging issues of growing concern. If timber is not to lose its current market share, valued to €15–20 million for softwood materials in Europe alone, new and existing material must be to the correct specification standard and fit for purpose.