Investment in UK forestry is at a record high, according to a joint report by Tilhill Forestry and John Clegg & Co.

The UK Forest Market Report found that £151.15m ($160.8m) worth of productive forests were traded in 2014.

A total of 98 properties – or 18,435 hectares – were sold last year.

This year, UK timber production is up to 11.4m tonnes, driven by standing timber prices, now at their highest since 1998.

George McRobbie, managing director at Tilhill Forestry, said UK forestry had “some of the highest environmental standards in the world”, with the country being the third-largest timber-product importer worldwide, presenting a “tremendous opportunity” for home-grown timber.

“The strong market in the UK is encouraging woodland creation, especially on marginal farmland,” he said.

Recorded prices are higher in England, ranging from £10,800 to £12,800 per hectare, compared with an average of £8,497 in Scotland.

In Wales, prices have increased by 23% to an average of £9,162 this year, compared with £7,077 in 2014.

The UK timber-processing industry employs 40,000 people, according to the Office of National Statistics.

However, the UK is still one of the world’s largest timber importers, importing almost 80% of its total timber needs.