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Sources of raw woodfuel

Currently most woodfuel used in Scotland is sourced and processed here. Unused by-products of the timber industry make up the bulk of raw wood material but new sources and processes, such as short rotation crops, are being trialled by Forestry Commission Scotland.

Felled trees in farm woodland

Forests and woodlands

The most obvious sources of woodfuel in Scotland are its forests and woodlands. The forestry and timber industries generate large quantities of by-products and thinnings which can be used. Undermanaged farm and estate woodlands are another source with great potential. The key to future growth is good forest management and developing ways of harvesting wood for fuel.

Sawmill residue and co-products

Tonnes of sawmill by-products end up in skips, costing £1,000s to dispose of in landfill. Sawdust, particularly dry sawdust from sawing kiln dried timber, is highly suitable for wood pellet production.

Tree surgery and landscaping residue

An estimated 700,000 tonnes of residue from tree surgery and other park and garden maintenance work (arboricultural arisings) are produced in Scotland each year. Some of this is suitable for woodfuel.

Willow crop

Energy Forestry

Existing sources are unlikely to meet future demand for woodfuel. Growing wood fuel-specific crops by short rotation coppice or short rotation forestry could be one answer. However, we need to know more about this.