This website is no longer being updated. Please go to GOV.SCOT

Improving the Economic Value of Forests


What is this about?

The quality of the timber produced is a key element in the competitiveness and economic viability of a forest holding. This often requires the use of specific silvicultural operations that will enhance timber quality.

This Option provides support for a range of specified operations that will improve timber quality. We will only support the net cost of operations and so you must provide evidence of operational expenditure and income.

If your woodlands are undergoing certification, in accordance with the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS), we will support some of the costs.

What will this achieve?

The economic value of the forest, and thus business viability, will be improved through:

  • Investment in the production of high quality timber
  • Applying appropriate silvicultural practice
  • Extending timber marketing opportunities
  • Committing to sustainable forest management

What you can do

Carry out the agreed operations in your business outcome plan to receive a contribution to the costs.

Who can apply?

Private owners or occupiers of forested land with a forest holding of at least 1 hectare.

Eligibility criteria

You must be managing your forest holding in accordance with an approved Forest Plan.

Your business outcome plan must outline the operations to enhance the quality of timber and the plan must quantify the estimated costs of operations and any income to be derived from the produce.

If you are applying for support for controlling Grey Squirrels you must keep records of areas where control has been undertaken and the location of active traps or hoppers. Where traps are used, you must also keep records of trapping dates and the number trapped and despatched. The spatial data should be recorded on an OS 1:10000 or larger scale map.

The control of grey squirrels must accord with the guidance given in Forestry Commission Practice Note 'Controlling Grey Squirrel Damage to Woodlands'.

You must carry out the approved operations in accordance with the published specifications and in the agreed year(s).

For auditing purposes you must keep invoices for actual expenditure and income associated with these operations.

Guidance and example on preparing a Business Outcome Plan for Improving the Economic Value of Forests.

What should you mark on your map(s)

The operations you intend to carry out should be recorded on an OS1:10000 or larger scale map.

For advice on how to mark your operations on the map please use the following link please refer to the Mapping Guidance.

What costs will be supported?

The operations eligible for support are:

  • early pruning to improve timber quality
  • high pruning to improve timber quality
  • pre-commercial and non-commercial thinning to improve average stem quality
  • controlling Grey Squirrels to prevent bark stripping damage and enable quality timber production from broadleaved woodland
  • re-spacing of natural regeneration where stem density exceeds 4,000 trees/hectare; and

Where independent certification has been undertaken, in accordance with UKWAS, the costs of preparing and implementing a plan required by the Certification Body to close out Corrective Action requests will also receive support.

To ensure value for money we require you to provide 2 competitive quotes for any capital items applied for which are based on actual cost. If, however, you are seeking grant support towards something so specialised it is only available through 1 source then we would accept 1 quote. Please see the guidance on quotes and estimates for more information.

Rate of support

Using the approved estimates in your investment plan and receipted invoices we will pay 50% of the net actual costs from whichever provides the lesser amount up to the maximum payment shown below:

Operation Maximum Net Cost Maximum Payment

Early pruning

£375/ha £187.50/ha

High pruning

£660/ha £330/ha

Woodland Thinning

£520/ha £260/ha

Controlling Grey Squirrels

- using traps

- using hoppers







Re-spacing natural regeneration

£600/ha £300/ha

Certification 'corrective actions' cost

£850 £425

Inspections and verification

We will inspect all areas of early pruning, high pruning, thinning and respacing against the specifications

We will inspect all Grey Squirrel control records, operational hoppers/traps and the crop to ensure that the control has been implemented effectively.

We will require to see the certification documentation.