THERE aren't enough foresters in England to manage the country's woodlands in the coming decades. 

That's according to the forestry minister, who has called on people to consider joining the industry to help plug its skills gap. 

Trudy Harrison became the latest figure to highlight forestry's worker shortage, following in the footsteps of the Institute of Chartered Foresters, which said in November 2021 that the sector faced a shortfall of 10,000 trained staff

Elsewhere, the Forestry Skills Forum’s Forestry Workforce Research analysis, published in 2021, found that England will need to fill around 2,500 roles by 2030 and Wales just shy of 500.

READ MORE: Forestry: Free training courses offered to grow workforce

Ms Harrison said: "We have many fantastic foresters already, but there aren’t enough to grow and manage our woodlands at the planned scale over the coming decades." 

Ms Harrison's warning came amid the launch of the Forestry Training Fund last week, which, ministers say, is for people considering a change of career or those who are seeking to build and diversify their skills in forestry. 

Forestry Journal: Trudy HarrisonTrudy Harrison (Image: FJ/Stock)

The short, practical training courses will be paid for by a £700,000 allocation from the £750m Nature for Climate Fund and will help grow the forestry sector. 

Examples of courses which are covered by the fund include: 

  • coppicing 
  • chainsaw maintenance and cross-cutting 
  • managing your woodland 
  • planning and planting a new woodland
  • marketing and selling timber
  • fence and hedge laying

Ms Harrison added: “We need to continue the legacy of our skilled forestry workforce to increase tree-planting across the country. 

"More woodland is vital for nature’s recovery and also essential to increase our security of UK grown timber, and deliver on our net-zero commitments."