Climate change impacts on Scotland’s forestry supply chain

Scotland’s forestry supply chain has numerous stages, from nurseries, forest management, and timber harvesting, through to transport, and processing. This supply chain needs to develop resilience in the face of climate change. However, climate change will impact on the stages of the chain in different ways, increasing the complexity of the interdependencies between the stages. Scotland’s forest sector also has interdependencies with other sectors, including agriculture and construction, which are also expected to be impacted by climate change. These impacts, and changes made in response to them, may have secondary impacts for the forest sector.

This report sets out a theoretical overview of climate change impacts on Scotland’s forestry supply chain, with a focus on forest wood products. It looks at impacts on the natural environment including forests, but also on infrastructure such as energy, water, transport and communication, and on business operations.

The lists of impacts are not and will never be exhaustive. The focus is on growers and nurseries, forest management, harvesting, transport, and wood processing. The aim is to provide a framework for discussion with forestry sector experts that:

  • identifies climate change impacts on the forestry supply chain, and potential consequences of adaptation practices implemented in response; and
  • ensures that lack of adaptive capacity at any stage does not restrict the overall resilience of the sector.