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Buying a Woodland

Forestry for Biomass  >  Buying a woodland

Whether you wish to buy a woodland for fuel production or for other reasons, you should also take into consideration that owning a woodland is a serious long term commitment and you have an obligation to manage it in an effective and sustainable manner

Woodland Valuation

There are a number of different methods commonly used for valuing a woodland:

  • Historic cost
    This valuation is based on the previous price paid for a woodland. Adjustments will need to be made to reflect changes in the infrastructure and growing trees in the woodland; inflationary changes; and any changes to legislation, tax law etc. This method is only of value if there is information on the market price i.e. the woodland has changed hands relatively recently.
  • Expectation value
    The expectation value is based on the economic value expected to be gained from the woodland. An assessment is made of the future income and loss of all of the different components to give an estimate of economic value. Examples of increases in value might include planned timber sales and lease of sporting rights, while examples of losses may include depreciation of infrastructure and costs of replanting felled trees.
  • Market value
    The market price is often the dominant mechanism determining the economic value of small woodlands. Woodlands are bought for a wide range of reasons, this may include the amenity value of owning woodland, conservation value or non economic timber use in addition to the direct economic value of woodland use. In many places the price paid for woodland in pounds per hectare is far higher than a valuation based on the net worth of the timber and infrastructure on site. This is particularly true in the South of England, and when woodland is bought and sold in “woodlots”.

The Forestry Commission maintains a number of statistics on timber prices and the economics of woodland management which are available here and the Investment Property Databank maintain a forestry investment index which has a link from the same page.

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What are Woodlots?

Woodlotting is the practice of breaking up the ownership of established woodland into a large number of smaller holdings sold to different owners. There is currently fierce debate in the forestry industry over whether this is good practice, and what benefits and risks are to woodlands from this practice. While woodlotting allows more people to engage actively in the use and management of woodland and can increase sensitive woodland management, concerns have been raised over increases in the number of structures, hard standing, boundary fencing, inappropriate use and the potential for neglect. Whilst many owners state nature conservation as a reason for purchase, few seek out woodland management advice . If you are interested in buying a woodlot we would strongly encourage you to get good advice on how to best look after your woodland, there are a number of helpful publications, organisations and contacts here

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Can I buy woodland from the Forestry Commission?

The Forestry Commission is the largest woodland owner in the UK and does buy and dispose of woodland to fulfil a number of different objectives. As the Forestry Commission is a devolved organisation; each of the countries in the UK handles woodland sales slightly differently.

  • England
    If you are interested in larger areas you should speak to the national office, otherwise each of the forest districts handle sales independently and you should contact the area land agent. There is a list of all of the forest district offices here.
  • Scotland
    Either vist here for woodland sales. Or get in touch with the area land agents. A list is available here.
  • Wales
    Contact national office here.

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Funded by

Forestry for Woodfuel and Timber


  1. Introduction and benefits of woodland management
  2. Fuel from woodland
  3. Buying a woodland
  4. Support for woodland management
  5. Grants, regulations and certification
  6. Woodland health
  7. Forest management plans
  8. Silviculture
  9. Planting Woodland
  10. Managing small areas and volumes
  11. Harvesting
  12. Fuel Processing
  13. Harvesting and Processing Costs
  14. Buying and selling wood
  15. Further Reading
  16. Training