labourer cutting wood

Latest estimates show that the Gross Value Added of the Welsh Forest Sector was £455.7 million over the last year. Forestry directly supports over 11,000 jobs, including those involved in forestry and logging, the manufacture of wood and wood products and the manufacture of paper and paper products. Many of these jobs are linked to rural areas and are significant contributors to local economies.

Wales's green economy

The figures above do not include woodland based recreation enterprises and so the total contribution of forestry to the green economy of Wales is likely to be much higher. These outputs come from the full range of forest industries, from large-scale international companies producing wood pulp, paper and panel board, to small, family businesses making fencing and garden furniture.

Sustainability and renewable resources

An expanding forest sector provides employment and training opportunities for people in Wales across a broad range of professions. Many of these jobs are in small or medium sized enterprises. Green jobs are based on the management of renewable resources, and properly managed woodlands and forests are both renewable and sustainable.

The Welsh Forest Resource makes a vital contribution towards the green economy in Wales by providing sustainable building materials, renewable fuel sources and green jobs.

Improving our woodlands

There is huge demand for wood and wood products and the range of benefits that woodlands provide. Demand for wood fuel is set to increase five-fold by 2020. Investment in forestry is growing but has potential to grow much further. We continue to import supplies for much of our timber needs. Many of our woodlands are under-managed or in no management at all. There is unequivocal evidence that woodlands are a low-cost solution to help us meet our climate change targets and yet new woodland creation remains stubbornly low.

The future of timber supply

On behalf of the Welsh Government, Confor and the Wales Forest Business Partnership held a workshop in October 2014 entitled Welsh Timber Supplies and Our Green Economy. The forecast production from the forest sector shows a steep decline in timber availability and representatives from across the Welsh forest industry sector warned that without concerted action this poses a real risk to future investment, limiting the potential of Wales’s green economy.

The forecast decline in timber availability can be off-set if we bring more woodland into management, make space to create new woodland and think carefully about planting tree species with timber properties that future markets are likely to utilise.

The support we offer

Our work continues to support a wide range of businesses that utilise woodlands and their products, concentrating on the need to work in partnership with others, between the public, private and third sector to support an integrated and efficient supply chain.

Find out what support is available by following the link to ‘sector and business advice’. Find out about bringing more woodland into management, new woodland creation and the support available by following the links.

Our aims

In our management of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate and across our remit for forestry, we support the economic development and enterprise benefits arising from the Welsh Forest Resource so that:

  • More woodlands and trees are managed sustainably
  • More people benefit from woodland-related enterprises
  • More Welsh grown timber is used in Wales
  • The forest sector is better integrated and more competitive, supporting the Welsh economy
  • There is an increased use of timber as a renewable resource
  • There is a thriving and skilled workforce in the forest sector

Woodlands and recreation

Woodland based recreation enterprises are a growing part of what the Welsh Forest Resource offers to Wales’s green economy. Over 3000 jobs are linked to recreation in Welsh woodlands. Many businesses rely on the attractive landscape and resource provided by woodlands as one way to attract customers. For some visitors, the woodlands and their wildlife are the main attraction. Walking, cycling, orienteering, bush craft, education and horse riding are amongst the most popular pursuits enjoyed in our woodlands.

You can find out how to propose a new enterprise opportunity set in the Welsh Government Woodland Estate by visiting the link ‘Woodlands and You’.

Find out more

You can find out how Natural Resources Wales manages the Welsh Government Woodland Estate by following the links including how to buy our timber, work on our land and our harvesting and marketing plans.

If you would like to contact the Sustainable Forest Management Team in Natural Resources Wales you can send your enquiry to

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