Borders forestry business targets niche market to boost revenues

Agriforest founder Douglas Mathison is also aiming to create an in-house forestry ground preparation team. Picture: Contributed
Agriforest founder Douglas Mathison is also aiming to create an in-house forestry ground preparation team. Picture: Contributed
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A forestry management firm is on track to grow annual revenues by a fifth as it looks to capitalise on a niche market for smaller projects.

Agriforest, founded in 2016, generated turnover of more than £1.3 million in the year to June, a figure forecast to increase by “at least” a further 15 to 20 per cent in the current 12-month period.

The Borders business, which provides forestry, harvesting and tree surgery services, is already on track to post a 30 per cent annual rise in tonnes harvested.

Working predominantly across southern Scotland and the Central Belt, Agriforest’s client base includes the Duke of Sutherland’s Mertoun Estate in the Borders.

Founder Douglas Mathison is also aiming to create an in-house forestry ground preparation team by the end of 2019, which would enable the business to undertake new planting schemes and re-stocking of harvested sites.

He said this “will increase the reliability and quality of the service we provide, and further bolster the fact that we are a hands-on management company”.

Mathison said: “We’re tackling smaller jobs, at farms, estates and small forests, that otherwise wouldn’t have been considered financially attractive and we’re making them financially attractive.”

A former tree surgeon, Mathison studied business at the Scottish Agricultural College in Edinburgh – now part of Scotland’s Rural College – achieving a degree in Rural Business Management in 2011.

He worked at timber harvesting firm Euroforest, latterly as an area manager, before launching Agriforest with £9,000 of his own capital.