How the Ukraine invasion is affecting the timber industry



The Russian invasion of Ukraine is delivering a shock to supply and costs across the globe, from food to fertilizer, gas to auto equipment.

We thought it would be helpful to share with our customers what impact this will have on your projects both short term and in the future.

Siberian larch

Buckland works with a variety of timber species and uses a combination of locally grown and imported materials to make our glulam.

The biggest impact we’ve already seen is on the availability of Siberian larch. Siberian larch is a common timber used in our glulam manufacture alongside European and UK Larch, Spruce, Douglas Fir, European Redwood (Scotts Pine) and Oak.

Some people don’t realise Siberian larch does come from its namesake area of Russia, Siberia.

We are the only CE certified UK glulam manufacturer and only work with certified timber. It is important to us that our customers know the glulam you buy is sustainably sourced, legal and complies with the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR, which came into force on 3rd March 2013).

As Siberian larch has now been classified as conflict timber it is no longer possible to use any timber exported from Russia since the invasion began. Timber exported from Russia before the invasion, however, can still hold the certification. We will aim to draw on this stock to honour any existing contracts.

What are the alternatives to Siberian larch glulam?

European larch is still available, and although lead times may well be inevitably longer and costs may increase due to a spike in demand, it is still a good option.

French Douglas fir is another alternative and, even closer to home, UK Douglas Fir or UK grown larch is plentiful. We are increasing our use of UK grown larch and Douglas fir and aiming to hold more stock of this material to help reduce lead times. 

How will this affect the wider timber industry?

It is worth being aware that even before the invasion, high demand for timber buildings had already led to a supply squeeze on spruce timber. While prices had fallen following last year’s peak, they were beginning to increase again, and this is likely to continue as companies seek to find alternatives for their customers.

Spruce and Redwood timber were commonly sourced from Russia before the conflict, and whilst volumes are low relative to the Scandinavian production, this will still cause some volatility in timber supply and pricing.

Does this affect steel supply too?

The last element to add to the mix is a lot of steel plate used for making connection brackets is produced in Ukraine. While we cannot predict what will happen, we can at least forewarn our customers there could potentially be an impact here too.

The good news is one of our strengths at Buckland is our flexibility!

We’ve shared this with you in the interest of keeping you informed, but rest assured we are fortunate to have a plentiful and sustainable larch supply within our local area. We also have strong partnerships with companies like Devon Oak and UK Hardwoods we can draw upon, and our experienced friendly team who can advise you on what your options are and the best approach to take.

We will continue to share information with you as we get it. In the meantime, if you are unsure or would like to have a conversation about how to navigate either a current project or something new you have planned please do get in touch or give us a call on 01363 891 363.