This week I’ve read that Confor, the sustainable forestry organisation, is calling on the government to put more money in so we can grow more trees, boosting the forestry sector and helping us comply with the recent Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emissions in the process.
Well, hurrah. About time too. A committed, modern, forward-thinking approach to forestry development? Who would have thought it.
As a forestry investor – one who’s green-minded too, this is great news. Confor have written to Therese Coffey, the Forestry Minister, to make the case for more funding to plant forests in England.
Confor want new forests to grow more productive softwood trees – these trees grow fast, hold carbon quickly and, when they’re harvested, lock that carbon up in wood products, especially when used in production.
This carbon can be counted when the UK does its greenhouse gas reporting because the wood comes from UK forests. It’s a win-win.
“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,” Confor chief executive Stuart Goodall said.
Confor also say that planting more ‘productive forestry’ would support the English forest and timber industry, which could do with some help, as it’s facing a shortfall of wood over the coming years that, it’s feared, will damage the rural economy.
“The UK saw milling, 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,” Confor said.
Since the publication of a report called Combating Climate Change, it’s been clear that planting trees is a low-cost way to sequester carbon and help the Government meet its demanding greenhouse gas reduction targets – it plans to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050. 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.
UK forests are generally agreed to be good places to put your money. Figures on returns vary, but you should (and I say should) be able to expect healthy bang for your buck. Figures from the IPD Annual Forestry Index show a total return of 10.8 per cent for 2015, easily beating returns on many other asset classes.
However, be mindful of additional costs. You’ll have to pay maintenance fees to keep the land in tip-top shape. This will of course eat into your costs, but, on the whole, forestry investment can be well worth your while. Consider speaking to a forestry investment expert if you’re interested learning more about it. That’s what I did.
Til next time.