The Wide Reach of Forestry in Our Communities

Community blog by Forest Manager, Byron Braithwaite in Central Borders

‘You can’t please all of the people all of the time’

The Central Borders team have recently supported a number of high school careers events, and although there was interest in pursuing a Forestry based career, understanding of its wide ranging opportunities and fields of interest was severely lacking. The common perception is that forestry is only about planting, growing and felling trees.

As I reflected on this and started to do some research into the impact Forestry has in the (largely) rural communities in Scotland I uncovered some very interesting facts. In 2015 an article written by BBC News reported the Forestry Industry in Scotland to be worth £1 billion a year, £484 million of which is derived directly from recreation (CONFOR).

Clearly this is a substantial input into rural areas, which is reflected in the number of jobs generated by the Forestry Industry. A report produced by CJC Consulting in 2015 (titled ‘The economic contribution of the forestry sector in Scotland) includes the table below, which provides some insight into the wide ranging opportunities forestry has to offer.

With the significant rise in the number of hectares of new woodland being planted annually, I would hazard a guess that the figures in the table above are lower than they are now in 2019. Breaking this table down further, and from the Forest Managers perspective, I include additional detail on the types of opportunities available below (I’m sure I have missed a few!) based on the phase the forest is currently in. I hasten to note that this does not include the end users of timber such as joiners, furniture makers etc.


  • Machine operator
  • Nursery labourer to carry out general maintenance of nursery beds, grade and process trees for sale
  • Plant scientist to improve stock, monitor nutrient levels and ensure the product is the best it can be
  • Sales manager to move stock, arrange deliveries and facilitate customers’ needs
  • Operations manager to ensure the nursery is running smoothly

Woodland creation and establishment:

  • Ecologists to carry out pre application surveys and offer advice
  • Surveyors to carry out soil and landscape appraisals
  • Forest Managers to produce woodland design and plan application and implementation of project
  • Investment manager to obtain funding and supply opportunities for sustainable investment
  • Ground works contractor/machine operator for cultivation, road construction, quarry work and drainage.
  • Planting and Maintenance contractor (planting, weeding etc.)
  • Public body/regulator to offer advice, facilitate grant funding, encourage afforestation and to ensure any work is being carried out sustainably
  • HGV driver to deliver trees, materials and fuel for machinery
  • Forest scientist to research the benefits and consequences of establishing or maintaining woodland as well as studying the growth and diversity within our forests
  • Fencing contractor
  • Wildlife manager to monitor damage to young trees and control species that are damaging to forest trees


  • This is far too wide ranging to pick everything out, a few examples include:
    • Tour operators
    • Bike shops
    • Cafes
    • B and B/hotel/campsite owner or employee
    • Forest ranger
    • Forest school operator
    • Trail builder


  • Surveyors to measure timber volume and quality
  • Harvesting contractor/machine operator to provide machinery for felling and extraction of trees
  • Forest/Harvesting manager to plan, implement and monitor the works
  • Ecologists to offer advice and monitor sites for protected species and environmental impacts
  • Haulier/HGV driver to haul timber to sawmill and fuel to site for machinery
  • Public body/regulator to offer advice, provide felling approval and ensure any work is being carried out sustainably
  • Timber merchant to provide sawn timber products to tradesmen

Timber processing:

  • Machine operator to unload and load timber into mill
  • Factory work to use and monitor machinery within the mill, package end product
  • Timber buyer to obtain timber and monitor stock levels
  • Sales personnel to sell the end product to timber merchants etc.
  • Haulier/HGV driver to haul sawn timber away from saw mill


  • Administrator
  • Human Resources personal
  • General managers
  • Marketing Services
  • Directors
  • Health and safety managers
  • Sustainability/assurance managers
  • Financial officers

As Forestry, particularly in Scotland, is supported by the government much of what we do is partly focused on community benefit. All forest plans, woodland creation applications and felling licences go through a public consultation process and must take into consideration the comments and suggestions provided by all interested parties (neighbours, government bodies, conservation organisations etc).

This consultation process stems from the Forestry Standards we subscribe to as Forest Managers, the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) and the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS). Both of these identify People and Social aspects as an important part of sustainable forestry.

An understanding of this is important, as is the reality that ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time’. The two other factors of the sustainability triangle, Economic and Environment, are equally as important… although when you think about it both of these have community implications to them!