THERE is currently a scarcity of timber, with demand for wood far outpacing supply and the price of timber soaring.

Douglas Mathison, forestry expert and owner of forestry management firm Agriforest, has pointed out that Coronavirus might have helped cause this timber imbalance.

With the pandemic and near worldwide quarantine shutting down the construction industry last year, demand for timber was expected to decrease, but the opposite happened.

Mr Mathison theorised: "Think of all those lockdown DIY projects and restaurants building entire outdoor seating areas."

READ MORE: Forest Research's Timber Price Indices: Softwood sawlog leads the way

Also owing to the pandemic, many sawmills and timber harvesting sites were forced to close, creating issues with timber supply.

Mr Mathison said: “Due to many sawmills being shut Agriforest had to close down a number of our harvesting sites, and some of our planting sites were also postponed. This might have caused some of the problems we are now seeing with timber supply.

"The main issue here however is not supply, but demand.”

It has been widely accepted that natural building materials like timber are more environmentally friendly than say, a concrete counterpart. With environmental concerns at the forefront of people’s minds, they are turning to timber as a more climate-conscious building material. In fact, 80 per cent of new-build housing in Scotland uses timber framing. With the building of new housing increasing in Scotland year on year, even before the pandemic, this could explain the increase in demand for wood.

Mr Mathison said: “People generally seem to be searching for climate friendly building materials. Timber would appear to be the answer, as with proper woodland management timber can be a truly sustainable resource.”

To those needing well-priced timber in the coming year, Mr Mathison advised against despair, saying that these issues with supply and demand will eventually settle down.

However, he also advised anybody looking to make money from timber to act now while demand and prices are still high: "Many farmers and estate owners are unaware that they could be making profit from their underutilised woodland."

Agriforest specialises in managing small to medium sized farm and estate woodlands. From an initial free site appraisal anywhere in Scotland and the north of England, through to the felling of timber, preparing for restocking, and subsequent maintenance thereafter, the business is well placed to give an entirely client focused service from start to finish.