A 2015 report on the economic value of the sector showed that Scottish forestry contributes nearly £1 billion GVA* to Scotland's economy every year.

Forestry also meets the four key priorities of Scotland's Economic Strategy by:

  • sustainably investing in people and infrastructure
  • supporting a culture of innovation, research and development
  • promoting inclusive growth and creating opportunity
  • boosting international trade and investment.

Findings: the numbers in brief

Forestry's economic contribution to Scotland is £954 million GVA:

  • £771 million comes from forestry and timber processing
  • £183 million comes from forest recreation and tourism.

Employment levels are up with more than 25,000 FTE* people now working in the sector.

forestry infographic 1

Forestry and timber processing

  • contributes £771 million GVA per year to Scotland's economy
  • employs 19,555 FTE people in Scotland.

forestry infographic 2

Forest recreation and tourism

  • contributes £183 million GVA to the Scottish economy every year*
  • employs 6,312 FTE people in Scotland.

forestry infographic 3

The contribution of local forestry businesses

The contributions that the forest sector makes to the Scottish economy are large and receive significant attention. However one sub-sector is less well documented. Across Scotland, dozens of new initiatives are growing into a dynamic sector: local small businesses and community initiatives, aiming to own, manage and use woodlands and their produce. This sector is still small in financial terms, but it is growing, and has large positive local impacts, especially in remote rural locations where there is often little alternative occupation or opportunity for business development.

This report is a first step towards assessing the evidence available and lacking. It aims to:

  • provide a preliminary overview of the sector and data sources;
  • summarise lessons learnt from existing evidence;
  • identify knowledge gaps related to value of the local business sector.

Future economic development

We support initiatives through the Timber Development Programme to help the wood fibre sector add value across the whole supply chain and find the most appropriate end market for Scotland’s timber.

The programme involves successful partnerships and collaborations with public sector bodies and industry to initiate and support innovation, research and development, promotion and knowledge transfer.

It helps meet timber and climate change actions in the Scottish Forestry Strategy and supports the Forest and Timber Technologies Industry Strategy “Roots for Future Growth” and the Scottish Economic Strategy.

In 2016/17 the focus will be on working with Innovation Centres to explore further development of wood fibre products and potential opportunities presented by bio-refining.

For further information, read the latest Timber Development Programme report  from 2014-15 or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


*GVA measures the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, industry or sector in the United Kingdom.

*FTE – full-time equivalent

*The economic contribution of forest recreation and tourism measures forest visitor spend on-site, largely from travel, food, drink and accommodation.