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Sustainable Forest Products Markets Necessary for Sustainable Forest Management – and vice versa!

Published: 02 November 2000


 "The production and consumption of wood is increasing in the ECE region (Europe, North America and the CIS), while at the same time the area of forests and of protected areas are expanding" according to Dr. Wulf Killmann, Director, Forest Products Division, Forestry Department, FAO. The annual increase in growing stock of timber exceeds fellings (700 versus 400 million m3 per year respectively). He concluded that "in the long run the best guarantee for forest survival is economic viability as a key to sustainable forest management."

Dr. Killmann gave the keynote address to open the market discussions of "Forest Products Markets in the New Millennium" held at the Joint ECE Timber Committee and FAO European Forestry Commission Session at FAO in Rome on 10 October 2000.

"The discussions linked the perspectives of the two intergovernmental bodies, with the Timber Committee’s focus on markets and the European Forestry Commissions focus on forests" added Dr. Ed Pepke, FAO Forest Products Marketing Specialist stationed at the ECE Timber Section. The main conclusions stemming from the Joint Session’s market discussion were that in order for forest management to be sustainable in the world, there must be sustainable forest products markets, i.e. products produced to meet customers’ demands, production capacity maintained and continued demand for forest products. Sustainable forest management in economic, social and ecological terms depends upon steady demand from the markets. These were the main conclusions stemming from the Joint Session’s market discussions.

The Joint Session went on to examine markets for sawnwood, roundwood, wood-based panels, certified forest products, secondary forest products and engineered wood products.

The full text of the Session’s approved market statement follows. Some of the other key points are:

The European log markets in 2000 show the effects of the December 1999 windstorms which resulted in catastrophic windthrow of 190 million m3 of timber, equivalent to 3 years’ harvest in the worst hit countries, such as France. Windstorm information available at: www.unece.org/trade/timber/storm/storm.htm

Demand for most forest products in 2000 was strong in both Europe and North America, and markets were recovering from low levels in the CIS.

Sawn softwood consumption, production and trade were forecast to rise sharply, by 4-5%, in Europe in 2000, to record levels.

North American sawn softwood consumption, currently at record levels, was forecast to slow slightly in 2000 and 2001.

Russian forecasts signal the end of a steep downward trend in sawn softwood consumption, production and trade.

Due to the December 1999 storms, European log markets had a sharp increase in production and exports, in some cases, prices of roundwood fell sharply in affected regions, despite measures taken to minimize market disruption.

Demand for sawn hardwood was forecast by the Joint Session to advance to new record levels in the ECE region in 2000 and 2001.

The increases expected in the United States exports of sawn hardwood will boost current record levels to Europe and some Asian countries.

Consumption of wood-based panels (particle board, fibreboard and plywood) in Europe and North America is expected to expand to new record levels.

The recovery of economic activity in the Russian Federation is reflected in the wood-based panels sector, with consumption forecast to rise by 15% in 2000.

European production of oriented strand board (OSB) continues to grow as new markets develop. In North America, OSB is 52% of the structural board market, and greater production increases are driving prices downward.

European MDF production is rising rapidly too, to record levels.

The manufacture and use of engineered wood products (EWPs) are expanding globally and EWPs are substituting for some traditional sawnwood and some non-wood applications.

The forest area certified for sustainable forest management is expanding and there is an increasing acceptance of the process of certification, with over 90% of the world’s certified forests being in the ECE region.

In Europe the first products certified under the Pan-European Forest Certification scheme are expected on the market in 2000. However, the market for these products remains limited, with demand coming from retailers, and not consumers.

The trade in secondary processed wood products (furniture, joinery, mouldings and other further-processed products) is growing faster than primary products, both in temperate and tropical species. The ECE region is the world’s major producer, importer and exporter of secondary wood products.

The official text adopted at the Joint UN/ECE Timber Committee and FAO European Forestry Commission Session is attached and includes forecasts for production, consumption and trade of forest products at the regional level. The text will be combined with full statistics and forecasts for 1999-2001 in Forest Products Markets in 2000 and prospects for 2001, number 6 of the Timber Bulletin. Most of this information is available on the Timber Committee website.

For further information, please contact:

JDr. Ed Pepke

Forest Products Marketing Specialist
Timber Section, Trade Division, UN/ECE and FAO
Palais des Nations, office 439
CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 917 2872
Fax: +41 22 917 0041
E-mail: Ed.Pepke@unece.org
Website: http://www.unece.org/trade/timber

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United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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Palais des Nations, 

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

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