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Economic Evidence, Analysis and Appraisal for the Independent Panel on Forestry - NE0124

Woodland cover in Britain has changed dramatically in the past, dropping below 5% at the end of the 19th Century and steadily increasing thereafter to around 9.9%. However, in comparison with other European Countries, which have an average woodland cover of 35%, England’s forests remain a relatively small and fragmented resource. The public has expressed the great value of woodlands to society and policy has increasingly stressed the multi-functional and non-market based value of woodlands. The need to protect and manage British woodlands sustainably and to support appropriate woodland creation is therefore recognised. Key to this project is to undertake an economic appraisal, to understand the flows of money into and out of different types of woodlands and to find ways of increasing the market value of sustainable woodlands through capturing their non-market benefits.

The research project aims to quantify both the market and non-market value of woodlands in order that the gap between the benefits owners receive and the benefits society receives from woodlands is better understood. The project will evaluate the degree to which a range of different drivers impact upon, and have the potential to impact upon woodland management and woodland creation. These include but are not limited to forestry policy, wider National and European policy, timber prices and the competitiveness of ‘woodland industries’, climate change, ownership patterns and institutional arrangements. The research will review historical and current trends in these drivers and forecast potential future trends, such as the increasing importance of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The analysis will provide an illustration of what drivers are currently determining woodland value and what drivers might be important in the future in determining their value. The research will also assess how drivers exert influence at more local scales and the degree to which considerations such as access, proximity to an urban centre and local biodiversity strategy play a role. The purpose of illustrating National versus local and current versus future drivers is to assess how both market and non-market value is determined and how it leads to different types of woodland management and woodland creation. This will facilitate a much better understanding of the interaction between markets, woodland management and woodland creation.

The project will recommend policy initiatives to firstly increase the market value of woodlands through capturing non-market benefits and secondly to correct any residual market failure so that the dual ambitions of the Independent Panel on Forestry - promoting multi-functional woodlands and increasing woodland cover - can be achieved in a cost-effective way.

This research is being commissioned by the Independent Panel on Forestry. The aim of this project is to provide the economic evidence needed to inform and appraise their recommendations.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : NE0124 FRP   (10k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2012

Cost: £93,810
Contractor / Funded Organisations
U R S Scott Wilson Ltd
Economic Research