The UK’s Timber Industry is suffering from the most significant impact of climate change, according to a report published today.
The UK’s growing industry is facing a critical period of uncertainty over what the impact of global warming will be in the coming decades, as a warming climate threatens to reduce its value as a source of timber.
“The UK Timber Industry faces a critical time period in its history, as the climate continues to heat up and the impact on timber industry will be devastating,” the authors of the report said.
According to the Royal Forestry Society, Britain’s timber production in 2020 was expected to be around 20 million tonnes, which is equivalent to 1.5 per cent of global timber production.
However, this will be significantly reduced by the impacts of climate and globalisation.
While the majority of UK timber production is currently located in Scotland, the report states that this is set to change due to the changing climate.
Timber production is set for a dramatic decline due to global warming, and the report warns that a growing global timber trade could see production fall by as much as 60 per cent in the next 20 years.
“The impact of this decline will be particularly acute in the UK, where the UK timber industry is set on a trajectory towards being decayed,” the report says.
It is estimated that by 2030, the UK will be producing less than 4 per cent more timber than it was in 1990.
But it is the changing timber industry that is set at risk, as globalisation and climate change mean that timber exports will be a much more difficult and expensive proposition.
A study by the timber industry body CERA found that by 2040, global trade in timber could reach $1.5 trillion.
That is equivalent in value to nearly 70 per cent (6.2 per cent) of the UK economy.
The report also points out that by the end of this century, the US will become the world’s largest timber exporter.
The report warns this could see the US export nearly 60 per 100,000 tonnes of timber annually.
If the United States did not reduce its trade with the UK over the next decade, the country’s timber export would fall by around 40 per cent.
These figures are based on the trade in UK timber in 2020, with the rest of the world being expected to follow suit by 2042.