Farming is often talked about as being affected by leaving the European union. However, forestry is similarly affected. Within this article I am going to investigate the different possibilities Brexit could bring for it. 

Forestry in the UK depends on grants, much of which comes from the EU, like agriculture. This could mean woodlands would be able to stand on their own two feet with this, without grant support, it could force woodland management to be more economic and independent. For example, grants are currently given per hectare of forestry land, but this could be changed to giving grants for managing land in an environmental way instead. Yet, there could obviously be problems with money, receiving less money if it is decided for it to be used elsewhere and so on. Therefore, showing possible benefits and negatives to each side. 

The EU is also important for forestry in terms of influencing policies; for example, the management of pests and diseases in trees, like Oak Processionary Moth.  As we are in a protected zone for this case, we must follow EU legislation and make sure we treat it to remove it. Whereas after Brexit, we don’t know whether new grants for forestry will be given, or whether the current policies will continue to govern. This could be both good and bad, but certainly does create insecurity on which way it could lead.

It would also mean that there is less European co-operation on research and possibly less financial support for research.  A lack of sharing information means perhaps less gain of knowledge for Britain, which could result in more tree disease and more harmful pests. There would also be less joining in trade, so it could become more difficult to export forestry goods to Europe. This could be a positive, though, as it is environmentally better to use local products. Also, the fact that we import most of our forestry products, means that they could become more expensive and harder to get, so putting pressure on the British market.  For example, increasing the price of a wide range of wood products from paper to furniture, yet again could increase the number of local products used, which is better for the environment and Britain’s forestry industry. 

Brexit is also having an impact on those working in the forestry industry; when speaking to Simon Levy, a contractor to the Forestry Commission, for his view on what it’s effect really means, “my view is clouded, because as seen, there are many benefits and negatives which it could result in, but as nothing is concrete it makes it hard to plan, especially as I’m self-employed.”

It can be seen, therefore, that Brexit may have a great impact on Forestry, both good and bad, and planning needs to happen to make the transition as smooth and as positive as possible.