SEVERAL weeks ago I was chatting to one of the parents at the youth football team I coach in my spare time. As anyone who has ever had to keep an eye on 15 or so teenagers will know, these moments of peace are all too rare.

It was during this welcome respite that I found out the dad is involved in the packaging industry, working with clients across Scotland and the north of England. This includes butchers and bakers, but I'm sorry to say he didn't mention any candlestick makers.

What he did mention was the recent Finnish paper workers strike and how that had affected his business. In brief, there were times when it would have been easier to get his hands on the Holy Grail than the packaging he needed during those few weeks.

While this is a few steps along a tree's life-cycle than we'd usually cover at Forestry Journal towers, it didn't take much to imagine how goings on in our own industry could one day impact on his. To this end, I relayed to him the struggles faced by the UK to plant more trees, the effect the war on Ukraine was having, and the uncertainty wrought by a number of pests and diseases.

And as Forest Research recently revealed, planting has stagnated in the UK, with no real end in sight to our struggles.

It's easy to join the dots from here. 

Fewer trees means less paper coming from the mills. Less paper coming from the mills means less available packaging for butchers, bakers, and shops. Less packaging means less food and other vital suppliers on the shelves.

His struggles might seems a world away from our own but they really are all connected.

This piece is an extract from today’s Forestry Features newsletter, which is emailed out at 4PM every Wednesday with a round-up of the week's top features. 

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