SCOTLAND'S FORESTRY sector hopes to double its contribution to the economy by 2030.

In its newly published 'Roots for Further Growth' strategy document, the Scottish Forest and Timber Technologies Industry Leadership Group has set its sights on raising the sector's worth to £2 billion a year by that date.

Chair of the group, Martin Gale CBE, presented the strategy to rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing during a visit to Edinburgh Napier University’s, Institute of Sustainable Construction, where they witnessed structural testing of potential new wood products.

Mr Gale said: “The Forest and Timber Technologies sector is an important sector for Scotland’s economy. Over the last decade the sector has grown significantly and our ambition is to double our contribution to the Scottish economy by 2030.

“The potential of a sustainable natural material like wood fibre is an exciting one in a low carbon future world, offering opportunities to sequester and store carbon, substitute high embodied energy products and even provide a feedstock to replace fossil fuel derived products," said Mr Gale. “All these outputs, and more, can provide significant economic and environmental benefits for the people of Scotland to 2030 and beyond.”

Mr Ewing commented: “This is an ambitious and forward thinking strategy. In response to the healthy forecasts of increased wood fibre availability, the sector has invested heavily over the past 10 years to achieve world class wood processing facilities. This in turn has created many new jobs, often in the more fragile rural communities.

”The strategy and its associated actions are a welcome addition to our shared national endeavour to grow and make the most of our precious forests.”

The 'Roots for Further Growth' strategy covers all the economic and business activities of the forest industries sector, including domestic and imported wood supply chains, engineered wood products and systems, recycled wood and wood energy. It also offers opportunities for new green industries such as wood-based biotechnologies