A summary report of a survey undertaken during 2012 of the domestic firewood supply chain has been published.
Certain aspects of the British woodfuel sector have been the subject of much research recently but have tended to focus on woodchip and pellets. Firewood, in the form of logs, has been largely ignored. A survey, supported by Sylva, was undertaken by MSc placement student Daniel Kinash from Bangor University. Co-authors were James Walmsley, Lecturer in Forestry at the university, and Sylva’s Gabriel Hemery.
- 336 actors in the supply chain responded during June/July 2012.
- respondents were distributed across 69 British counties.
- most respondents (147) were firewood merchants.
- 97% of suppliers reported gradual or healthy growth in demand in the last five years.
- the vast majority of respondents considered there being sufficient demand to increase sales volume – equivalent to 60% within the British domestic market, or 77,000 green tonnes per year.
- barriers to improving supply included financial profitability and time (i.e. lack of efficiency).
- the main barrier to sales was education of end users, where poor quality firewood drove down prices (i.e. lack of awareness by buyers of wet or green wood)
- long-term supply contracts would provide confidence to suppliers to invest in machinery and infrastructure.
- moving towards universal standards and improved clarity of terminology were seen as important but would require a nationwide strategy.
The Royal Forestry Society, publishers of the Quarterly Journal of Forestry, kindly provided permission for Sylva to include a pdf of the full article in our Forestry Horizons library. The article can also be downloaded directly here.
With special thanks to the Royal Forestry Society