By using wood sustainably, either to replace materials such as steel and concrete, or as a substitute for non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, CO2 emissions can be reduced. One of the best ways to address climate change and help to reduce other GHG emissions is to use more wood from more forests and woodlands.
Forest products can deliver significant impact in meeting Government targets for a low carbon economy. This will be delivered through commissioning and promulgating robust and defendable scientific evidence that supports the use of timber in relation to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Forest owners and managers are already well aware of the environmental and social impacts of forestry and woodlands. They are equally aware that such benefits are not easily translated into tangible income for those who provide them. Revenue from products, principally wood, remains crucial to the future sustainability of British woodland. Wood and wood products are traded on an international market and research and advice to add value to traditional home-grown forest products is essential. Continuing competitiveness also requires research, which supports management systems that deliver wood products wanted by the market. This includes procedures for quantifying what will be delivered by past, present and future management practice. These are particularly important in relation to climate change predictions and the potential impact of pests and pathogens.
In Section 5 we emphasise the value of our partnerships with timber research institutes, both at home and abroad, and these will continue. The research carried out by Forest Research on timber properties is closely linked to these and other external providers and will be strongly supported.
The UK Renewable energy strategy sets out UK energy policy and strategy, looking towards 2050. Carbon reduction is a central goal of Government policies and the increased use of renewable energy from biomass is recognised as an important resource. Forestry and woodlands can be an important contributor and it is vital for forest products to gain their proper place in these markets, if the forestry and woodlands sector is to play a full role in sustainable rural economies. Our stakeholders across the UK recognise that effective use of wood and its derivatives as fuel sources requires research support.
Wood is one of the oldest fuels, while forests and woodlands have been used for centuries to produce chemicals and fibres. Our research will continue the development of innovative products from British forests and woodlands, to maintain and enhance industry competitiveness, and provide society with as wide a range of benefits as possible.
Links to the forest products research programmes are listed below.
Wood and timber properties