The British Isles are one of the most favourable locations for afforestation in Europe. Their mild and moist climate and soil types are ideal for tree growth. Despite their comparitive advantage, however, the islands are the second baldest spot in Europe, with tree coverage only about 7 percent of the total land surface. The main reason for the neglect of forestry in the islands is that the ground rules laid down to evaluate public sector investments in the UK proved to be unsuitable for afforestation projects, which are mostly carried out by the government. Those rules, erroneously, made forestry a low return investment. In the face of recent developments in the theory of social time discounting, this paper reevaluates the worth of forestry projects in the UK with ullustrations from the case of Northern Ireland.


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