Land sold for tree planting continued to achieve strong results in early 2020, with some agents reporting upwards of £2,000 per acre.
The sector is growing fast as private and public companies and individuals capture the move towards sustainability.
According to Savills Spotlight: UK Forestry report, in 2019 there was clear evidence of new buyers entering the UK forestry market attracted by the recent performance of the asset class, but also drawn to the environmental benefits of forestry.
This was on the back of a shift in public attitude towards the climate emergency and investors concerned with ethical governance looked to forestry to provide some of their solutions.
James Adamson head of Savills forestry, said: “For commercial forestry the sustainability arguments are clear; we are producing a natural commodity in timber, the growing world population will put a strain on our natural forests, so plantations will be required to deliver more of the wood we need, and certification standards ensure there is a place for biodiversity and conservation in even the most commercially managed forests.”
While interest from new buyers was a feature of last year’s market, some recent trends continued including low supply, strong competition and reasonable timber prices, as well as rising asset values across all regions.
Nicola Buckingham of Savills rural research added: “The growing interest in forestry has now filtered through into tree planting as we saw in many of the political party manifestos last year.
“These positive pledges are very welcome, but there was little detail on how this additional planting would be achieved against a backdrop of complex grant schemes, slow processes, lack of nursery stock and the higher value of competing land uses.”