Recent societal and legislative changes have seen the reversal of this trend and have given landowners the opportunity and incentive needed to revitalise their woodland resource.
Whilst woodland has always formed the core of many estates, its value has often been dictated by a number of, often competing, factors: sporting interests, commerciality, amenity or biodiversity. Over the previous generation, for many, the silvicultural management of broadleaf woodlands has simply not made economic sense.
However, in recent years, the increased timber value has made management work more feasible, and there has been a renewed focus on natural capital and the role it can play in carbon capture. This has encouraged many landowners to reassess their woodland holding and consider the benefits of a more active management approach.
Both the Agriculture Bill and the Environment Bill place a high level of importance on forestry and woodland. While in many cases it has already become financially viable to increase silvicultural activity in undermanaged woodland, these Bills bring forestry back into the spotlight and are likely to reward farmers and landowners for beneficial management activity. Biodiversity and nature conservation are the keys drivers behind this, along with carbon sequestration which is enhanced in well managed woodland. Woodland creation on farmland is also likely to increase in importance, as planting targets set by the Government are unlikely to be realised without some form of significant support.
Each acre of new woodland will capture significant amount of carbon over its lifetime and this process is known as ‘additionality’. This ability to sequester carbon already has a value which can be traded on the open market or through schemes like the Woodland Carbon Guarantee. However, its value is likely to increase as a growing number of businesses seek, or are forced, to offset any carbon produced through their activities.
Whether you currently own woodland, or are thinking of buying, planting or selling, Carter Jonas can help you.
If you’re planting, we can help to identify the most suitable land, whether that’s within your existing holdings, or by purchasing land elsewhere. We can then work with you to advise on any grant funding that might be available and help with structuring the application to maximise its chances of success.
From then on, our experienced estate management team, who regularly advises clients on their woodland as part of their mixed portfolio, can oversee and project manage forestry operations, from the initial planting and establishment phases, through to thinning and felling in later years.
Our rural agency team also has broad experience of selling farms, land and estates throughout the spectrum and across England and Wales, and can help find the right buyer for you if you’re looking to sell some of your forestry assets, whether that’s part of a wider portfolio or as a single holding.