Softwood logs in Russia. Image: Lesnaya Industriya Journal
China’s huge wood demand along with limited domestic forest products will increase wood imports in the following years.
China will push forward its Natural Forest Protection Program and phase out all commercial logging of natural forests by 2017. At the moment it has 198 million hectares of natural forests, of which 127 million hectares have been protected as reserves since the launch of the Natural Forest Protection Program in 1998.
A logging ban is already active in some of the country’s key areas, especially in three north-eastern provinces. The ban will be extended to all state-owned forests next year, and logging on privately owned land will cease by the end of 2017, resulting in logging output by an annual 50 million cubic metres.
At current growth rates, Chinese log imports will reach around 82 million m3 by 2020, and lumber imports, around 52 million m3. With the complete ban of commercial logging, Chinese total log and lumber imports are likely to reach up to 200 million m3 by 2020.
In 2014, Chinese imports of mahogany increased to 4.69 million m3 and RMB61.78 billion, up 46.8% and 62.3% respectively over the previous year.
There are no current signs of a decline in the Chinese demand for valuable hardwoods.
Consequently, the timber industry is likely to evolve, for instance, an increased awareness of illegal logging and diversification of wood export origins.
The largest lumber imports from Europe will come from Russia and Finland, North America, and Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines from Southeast Asia.
Source: Forestry Expo Co NZ