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The Food and Environment Research Agency
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Executive Summary


The UK Forest Resource
Secondary Metabolites From Trees
Non-Timber Markets For Trees
Extraction Technologies For Tree Metabolites
Adding Value To Tree Metabolites
Further Research
Modelling Tools
Trees are an integral part of the UK's landscape and rural economy. Unfortunately, the economic benefits accruing from timber production have declined in recent years. Standing timber price has plummeted to a 25-year low. According to the Forestry Commission and allowing for inflation, standing timber prices are only 42% of what they were 10 years ago and prices are still declining. The challenge is to find alternative uses for and 'add value' to these resources. This is of particular importance to upland communities that rely on forestry as a source of income, where diversification into alternative enterprises is more difficult because of climatic, geological and legislative restrictions (e.g. in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
It is estimated that only 25% of the felled tree is actually transformed into timber. The remaining material (roots, leaves, bark, small branches, off-cuts etc.), a rich composite of primary and secondary metabolites and plant fibres, is a relatively unexplored and unexploited source for potentially novel products that could complement revenue from pulp or timber outlets.
This review collated information on the primary and secondary metabolites of the UK's main forestry tree species and explored their commercial potential as sources of high value feedstocks for industrial products and processes.
It excluded the use of tree products for heat and electricity generation, glued composite materials, bioethanol as a transport fuel, and non-tree-derived forest products (e.g. fungi) as these topics have been well researched and documented.
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Forestry Commission (2001). Forestry Statistics 2001. 48pp. A compendium of statistics about woodland, forestry and primary wood processing in the UK. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh.