IS now a good time to be in forestry or not?

There are different schools of thought, determined by different people’s experiences and where they sit within the industry. You would expect that in just about every sector, but in forestry the gulf between one person’s outlook and another’s appears so great you’d hardly believe they were both involved in the same field.

Is it a good time for new entrants? In this issue we hear from trainers who say yes, this is a very good time, with lots of jobs to fill and employers offering great pay and conditions. And it’s an increasingly welcoming industry to women and people from diverse backgrounds.

READ MORE: Traditional orchards: Do they have a future in the UK?

Over the following pages you’ll read features on young operators, female foresters and others who have lots of positive things to say. 

At the other end of the scale are experienced hands telling us pay and conditions are nowhere near where they should be, especially for operators and contractors – and that this is driving skilled workers out of the sector faster than people can be found to replace them.

That said, we all know there are plenty of people who would love to make their careers in forestry, if only they could find a way in. Training remains costly, funding relatively scarce and educational routes thin on the ground.

Forestry Journal:

Reporting on forestry, it often feels like you’re covering two completely different industries – one rife with opportunities and boasting a bright future, the other in decline, undervalued by politicians and the public and headed for a crisis.

The truth is forestry is both these things at the same time, however much they appear to conflict. Sooner or later, however, one vision will have to win out over the other.

This article originally appeared as John McNee's Letter from the Editor in Forestry Journal's April 2023 edition