The Reading / Listening – Timber Shortage – Level 5

A worldwide timber shortage is causing major problems for the housing and construction industry. The shortage has caused a sharp rise in the price of newly built homes. In some countries, the price builders pay for timber has gone up by about 25 per cent. One reason builders are struggling to get supplies is because people have been reforming their homes during lockdown. Post-lockdown construction and DIY projects have created “extraordinary demand”. Timber companies said suppliers were “working around the clock” but are “struggling to keep up”.

Scientists say a major reason for the shortage is climate change. This is putting pressure on the sustainability of forests. An increase in wildfires is causing damage to forests. Many have been completely burnt to the ground. The warmer weather has also increased the number of pests that cause damage to trees and stunt tree growth. Sweden is a major supplier of timber wood. It has recorded its lowest timber stocks for 20 years. The UK said it is “committed to trebling tree planting rates”. A builder joked that he didn’t have time for those trees to grow.