Species survey

We have launched a survey to gather the timber industry’s knowledge and experience of working with different species – to inform our research and to feed back to industry to help make informed decisions for new planting.

For those that were at the recent ICF Conference in Newcastle and are interested in the species survey that was mentioned during the talks by Elspeth MacDonald and Dan Ridley-Ellis (and already know what this is about), the survey can be found here: https://survey.napier.ac.uk/n/MinorSpeciesSurvey.aspx

Update 27/6/2016 – see this page for more information.

Sitka spruce is the main commercial tree species in the British Isles and this looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.  That said, there are growing reasons to consider other species for wider planting to better serve the aims of modern multipurpose forestry – not least a better resilience of the forest (and timber supply) to pests, diseases and climate change.  There is also a need to bring species that are present in the forest, but not currently managed, into the supply chain.

There are a number of “minor” species which could be candidates but little is known about the mechanical properties of these when grown in the British Isles, their suitability for different markets, and their suitability for industrial processing.

There is a great deal of very valuable information within the forestry and sawmill industries gained from years of experience of working with different species. As part of our SIRT work plan it was agreed to undertake a survey asking the people working within the sawmill industry of their experience and knowledge of processing and marketing timber from these less common forest species.

If you work within the industry or have other experience of working with the different species then please help us by completing the survey.  For hopefully obvious reasons, we are using Sitka spruce as the benchmark species.


There is a version of this that can be printed out and filled in manually. If you would like the printable version then please email me at the address below.

If there are any questions regarding this please contact Steven Adams : s.adams@napier.ac.uk

Further info: We have two current projects in SIRT looking at the properties of different species. The first of these is a PhD project started in October 2013 (at Edinburgh Napier University & Forest Research), funded jointly by the Scottish Forestry Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland and Natural Resources Wales, examining in detail the timber properties of Norway spruce, western hemlock, western red cedar and noble fir grown in the Britain. The second project is again looking at the physical and mechanical properties (but in less detail) of a range of additional species grown in Britain with the aim of evaluating their commercial potential for production crops and to identify candidate species that could have potential for further research.  For more info on what we currently know, see our previous post: Grade in Britain.

We are aware that there has been a great deal of research undertaken in other countries – and we will be looking to gather as much as we can from that – but we do already know that timber properties are very strongly influenced by site and silviculture, and so we have to look specifically at timber grown in the British Isles to get a proper impression of timber quality.



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