James Jones & Sons has been working on the aspect of embodied carbon in timber products for over ten years through the first UK assessment of the carbon credentials of its I Joists and sawn timber production. This assessment, which has been carried out by Ecometrica, has allowed James Jones to clearly demonstrate and measure the net carbon storage credentials of its products to key clients in the house building, timber merchant and forestry sectors over this period.

The Company, which has had a long history of woodland ownership in Scotland, has recently acquired further areas of woodland and farmland for new planting as part of a strategic long-term timber supply investment and carbon capture programme and as part of the multi-benefit forestry within its portfolio.

Tillyrie, a 100 hectare bare land acquisition near Milnathort in Central Scotland, was purchased in 2018 as part of this investment programme. Planted in 2019 under a Forestry Grant Scheme, the woodland comprises a fairly standard mix of UKWAS approved species and land use with 70% spruce (Sitka, Norway, Omorika) 10% other conifers (Scots pine, Douglas fir, Western hemlock), 8% native broadleaves and 12% open ground.

The Establishment work, carried out by Scottish Woodlands, has included a combination of ploughing, mounding and hand screefing, resulting in an established woodland within two years. Extensive roading works will not only facilitate future timber extraction, but will allow public access between existing core paths around Milnathort and wider access network to the North.

Carbon storage is one of the key objectives of this scheme and in this respect Tillyrie offers an ideal benchmark in demonstrating the storage “capacity” of such commercial woodlands, whilst being an “exemplar” woodland of its type to demonstrate the company’s commitment to long term timber supply and confidence in the sector as a whole.

In order to demonstrate and quantify the carbon storage opportunity at Tillyrie, the simple representation below shows how the 16,000 tonnes of carbon to be stored within the forest is built up over the 65 year project timeline. The scheme, which has been registered through Markit, comprises a management plan for the felling of the commercial spruce crops and long term retention of other species beyond this timeframe. Unlike native woodland schemes, which offer ultimately more extensive carbon storage, commercial schemes are de-risked through shorter timeframes and the offset of genuine commercial timber production and potential spin off carbon storage benefits through timber supply.

James Jones & Sons strategy differs from other carbon storage management models in that rather than selling the “futures” of the stored carbon, the company intends to grow their strategic carbon reserve in parallel with their business, thus providing long term sustainable offsetting of its operations that are not accounted for by Ecometrica in the production of sawn timber.

With a planting programme of some 2000 hectares (400 ha/annum for the next 5 years) and with the land already in hand to achieve this, the company hope to achieve a total of stored carbon potential in excess of 300,000 tonnes by 2025. This will of course be additional to the net tonnes of carbon offset that can be passed on from its current annual 600,000 m3 and growing sawn production in the future.

With climate change mitigation being a key objective for Government and Industry, woodlands, such as Tillyrie, offer the perfect opportunity to provide a long term timber supply, habitats and diverse ecosystems, public access, water supply security and flood mitigation as well as storing Carbon and mitigating against such change across the UK.

David Leslie, Joint Managing Director of James Jones & Sons, commented “commercial woodlands managed through the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme are the key to climate change mitigation and sustainable timber supply for the UK. Combined with harvesting best practice through ISO 14001, processing to the highest environmental standards and effective chain of custody monitoring through PEFC and FSC certification, James Jones can clearly demonstrate these benefits throughout the supply chain to ensure all stakeholders CSR responsibilities are met”.