The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry and Tree Planting is where the forestry industry and British Government intersect. As such, we at Forestry Journal consider it important to attend meetings and report on them whenever possible.

Some are, inevitably, more interesting than others, but the latest provided one of the most informed, succinct and coherent analyses of the crisis currently facing productive forestry in the UK I have heard anywhere.

Dr Andrew Cameron, senior lecturer at the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, was asked about his recent paper on expanding productive forests and explained he was motivated by a desire to challenge its negative portrayal in the media and the views of environmental groups and commentators, too often presented without argument.

He said: “Environmental and productive tree planting are presented as competing options, but both have a role in our landscapes.

“Conservation forests and rewilding have advantages for biodiversity, but there is no expectation of timber production from these forests.

“Where will our wood come from? We import over 80% of our timber. What are the economic risks of depending on imports when global demand is expected to double by 2050 and global shortages are predicted?”

This is a point that needs to be argued more strongly, more often and I’ll be keeping a few of Dr Cameron’s facts and phrases in my back pocket for the next such opportunity.

There is a sense that the case for tree planting has overwhelmingly become about carbon sequestration and biodiversity outcomes, prizing ‘native’ hardwoods over ‘non-native’ conifers, but productive forests sequester atmospheric carbon while producing an entirely renewable and sustainable material and it is productive forestry where we are failing, leaving our construction industry at the mercy of imports and geopolitical upheaval.

The same meeting opened with chair Ben Lake MP confirming that, in England, wood-producing forests are actually in decline. He then left before any questions could be asked, as he had to attend a debate in the chamber (probably about Christmas parties). That meant he wasn’t around for Dr Cameron’s message – a shame, since politicians are the ones who most need to hear it.

Other topics covered in the latest issue of Forestry Journal include:

• Efforts to clean up after Storm Arwen;

• A profile of chainsaw carver Dan Cordell;

• Our monthly Buyer’s Guide looks at small-scale forestry equipment;

• A review of the Stihl MS 400 C-M chainsaw.

To learn more, visit