A dramatic upturn in demand for firewood is great news for those lucky enough to own woodland. Having relied on coal, gas and oil to provide most of our energy needs over many years, many woodland owners have carried out the bare minimum of work to maintain the quality of timber in their woodlands, as such work has not proved cost effective. However, with firewood now becoming a more valuable resource, it may be time for woodland owners to pay more attention to this resource.
Rural consultant for Carter Jonas, Katie Turner explains “The reason why there are such exceptional increases in the demand for firewood is largely because of the soaring energy prices. We would encourage all woodland owners to think about how they can maximise the potential of this increasingly valuable resource.”
Bicester based Nicholsons, a well established family business, says demand for firewood has increased significantly possibly in the region of 20% within the last four months of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007.
Mike Tustin the forestry contracts manager at Nicholsons commented that nearly all of the smaller merchants are reporting that they are running out of seasoned logs and are trying hard to buy in more logs but not at any price; those merchants who do have wood stockpiled are trickling it out to the people that have run short which is currently boosting prices to around £23 per ton (at roadside).
Britain grows up to one million tonnes of domestic firewood per year with approximately 180,000 tonnes of wood and wood products being imported, the 30% increase in demand for good quality, seasoned hardwood logs could prove hard to fulfil.
With woodland management being essential for both maximising timber production and for the conservation of wildlife, a well managed woodland such as one where regular coppicing is practised can produce a steady supply of timber. With the rise in demand for fuel wood and the availability of grants for woodland management schemes there is no better time to gain professional advice on ways to maximise the potential from your woodland.
For further information please contact Katie Turner in Carter Jonas' Northampton office, T 01604 619282.