The UK and Ireland has increased forest cover over the last hundred years and is now supplying around a third of our wood needs. To quote the UK Forestry Commission:
“The development of the British timber industry, using wood from Britain's forests, has been a major success story. Over £1.6 billion has been invested in sawmills and paper and board mills over the last 15 years, and a further £2 billion is expected to be invested over the next fifteen years, creating many new jobs. The volume of wood supplied from Britain's forests each year has more than doubled from 4 million cubic metres in the 1970s to nearly 9 million now. This will increase to 15 million cubic metres by 2020, offering scope for further substantial investment in the processing industry."
In terms of certification, latest available figures also from the UK Forestry Commission state, “Approximately 80 per cent by volume of all timber produced in the UK is certified, including two-thirds of private-sector production.” The FC Forestry Statistics for 2008 go on to note that, “1.3 million hectares of woodland in the UK were certified in March 2008, under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This represented 45% of the total UK woodland area, varying from 30% in England to 73% in Northern Ireland.”
For more information about wood supply within the UK and Ireland and for links to other important organisations in the UK wood sector click here
TTF members click here for more detailed Country Guidance on Ireland.
Certified forest areas in Europe in December 2008 amounted to 85 million hectares, about 57% of the continent’s total commercial forest area. It is particularly extensive in the Nordic countries, with the entire commercial forest estate of Finland and Norway certified to the PEFC standard, while around 48% of Swedish commercial forest area is certified to the FSC standard and a further 38% to the PEFC standard. These are very positive figures given Europe is responsible for meeting over 50% of the UK wood requirements with our traditional Nordic trading partners being most prominent.
For more information about wood supply from Europe and for links to other important organisations in the European wood sector click here.
Russia is a key supplier of higher grade softwoods and birch to the UK with the Russian forest resource being one of the most significant in the world. Forest certification in Russia has been challenging for a number of reasons. Total certified area in the country still stood at around 18 million hectares at the end of 2008.
TTF members click here for more detailed Country Guidance to risk rate Russian timber products under the Responsible Purchasing Policy.
Canada has not been a large supplier of commodity wood products to the European market in recent times, due to widespread availability of commercial softwoods from Europe’s domestic forests and the presence of the huge US market on Canada’s doorstep. Canada is more important in the European market as a supplier of speciality softwoods, notably western red cedar, Douglas fir, larch and western hemlock. Western red cedar is very popular for cladding, particularly in public sector contracts, and unlike most other cladding products, it is now readily available as an independently certified product to European buyers. A wide range of temperate hardwoods are available from Quebec and Ontario, including aspen, ash, maple, birch, red oak, cherry and walnut.
Canada is a world leader in terms of certified forest area. The country accounts for over half of the certified forest area endorsed internationally by the PEFC, certified through the CSA and SFI systems. Canada is also responsible for one quarter of FSC certifications worldwide. The total area of independently certified forest in Canada amounts to around 151 million hectares.
TTF members click here for more detailed Country Guidance on Canada.
The USA is important to Europe as a supplier of speciality hardwoods and softwood including oak. ash, cherry and southern yellow pine.
Certification has progressed rapidly in the United States in recent times, but a large proportion of certified forest land comprises large industrial estates. There is only limited availability of independently certified hardwood lumber and veneer products, which derive almost exclusively from small non-industrial forest owners and which form the major component of European imports from the United States. The current position of the three forest certification systems operating in the US, FSC, AFTS (American Tree Farm System) and SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative). SFI is by far the dominant scheme; both SFI along with AFTS are endorsed by PEFC.
For more information about wood supply from both Canada and the USA, and for links to other important organisations in the North American wood sector click here.
TTF members click here for more detailed Country Guidance on the USA.
Over the last decade, China has grown in importance as a wood processing hub, manufacturing products using a combination of composite panels and generally low quality solid wood from China’s domestic forests and higher quality imported solid wood. Until the latter half of 2007, EU imports of wood products from China, particularly furniture, plywood and flooring, were tending to rise.
There have been moves in recent times to certify or verify the legality of China’s domestic forests. By the end of 2008, 15 FSC forestry certificates had been issued in China covering 712,000 hectares. A further 1 million hectares were participating in the WWF Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) and working towards FSC certification. These certified and verified areas, while significant as pilot projects, still account for little more than 1% of China’s total domestic forest resource.
TTF members click here for more detailed Country Guidance to risk rate Chinese timber products under the Responsible Purchasing Policy.
Around 85% of the value of Malaysian wood products imported into the EU derives from Peninsular Malaysia, with much of the remainder coming from Sabah. The EU has traditionally imported only negligible volumes from Sarawak. Malaysia is a significant Plywood supplier to the UK and Europe and provides a wide variety of Tropical Hardwood species as sawn, machined or engineered wood products.
Peninsular Malaysia’s permanent production forest is certified entirely under the Malaysian Timber Certification System (MTCS) scheme. Only a small area (56000 hectares) is MTCS certified outside Peninsular Malaysia (in Sarawak). Only around 200,000 hectares of the nation’s forest are covered by FSC under 5 certificates.
TTF members click here for more detailed Country Guidance to risk rate Malaysian timber products under the Responsible Purchasing Policy.
Import volumes from Indonesia to Europe have declined significantly since their high in 2002 in recognition that natural production forest areas managed under concession agreements are now seriously depleted. A major demand-supply gap has opened up in the country. However illegal wood continues to form a major component of the Indonesian supply equation and the Indonesian government is now engaged in a major effort to improve enforcement practices which is having a positive impact.
At present private sector certification of sustainable forest management is not widespread in Indonesia. FSC has certified 8 forest management units with a total area of 900,000 hectares, only around 1% of the total forest estate. This includes 5 areas of natural forest concession with a total area of 886,000 hectares, together with 2 small areas of plantation and mixed forest. The WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) has been very active in Indonesia. By the end of 2008, GFTN boasted 9 forest participants in Indonesia, including 3 with natural forest estates.
TTF members click here for more detailed Country Guidance to risk rate Indonesian timber products under the Responsible Purchasing Policy.
The Vietnamese wood products industry imports an estimated 80 per cent of their raw materials from countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and China. Vietnam is a large supplying country for garden furniture and NGO attacks on EU retailers has furthered progress in FSC certification in tropical forest regions of the Far East. By the end of 2008, 168 companies in Vietnam had achieved FSC chain of custody certification, up from 152 a year earlier.
Many Vietnamese furniture manufacturers are now scouring the world for suitable FSC certified hardwoods, particularly since the removal of the Indonesian teak plantations from the FSC list in October 2001. Jarrah and karri from FSC certified eucalyptus plantations in South Africa has become particularly popular amongst garden furniture manufacturers.
For more information about wood supply from South East Asia and for links to other important organisations in the Asian wood sector click here.
Brazil remains a major player in the European wood products market, notably of plywood, sawn lumber and decking. Independent forest certification has formed a significant component of its marketing efforts to broaden market share. Brazil has the largest area of certified forest of any developing country – around 6.2 million hectares at the end of 2008 – although this still represents only a small proportion of the nation’s vast forest area, estimated at around 540 million hectares.
A significant proportion of Brazil’s certified forests are in softwood plantation forests of Southern Brazil. Brazilian plantations comprise mainly eucalyptus (3.3 million hectares) and pine (1.9 million hectares). The paper sector and softwood plywood sectors have been key drivers of certification of Brazilian plantations. Further details of these southern plantations are given in an extract from the ABIMCI Sectoral Study 2008.
TTF members click here for more detailed Country Guidance to risk rate Brazilian timber products under the Responsible Purchasing Policy.
For more information about wood supply from Brazil and other Latin American countries providing wood products to the UK and Europe such as Bolivia , Guyana and Peru click here
TTF members click here for more detailed Country Guidance on Chile.
In recent years, an increasing proportion of the African hardwood supplied to the European market has derived from the countries of the Congo basin, notably Cameroon, Gabon, the Congo Republic and, more recently, the Democratic Republic of Congo. The West African supply countries of Ghana and Ivory Coast are generally diminishing in importance due to population pressure and past over-exploitation.
South Africa has also been a major supplier of wood products to the outside world, mainly derived from fast growing plantations of eucalyptus, acacia and pine. A significant area of these plantations are FSC certified (around 1.7 million hectares). FSC certification has been an important factor encouraging European purchases of South African timbers, particularly eucalyptus for garden furniture and window frames.
For more information about wood supply from Africa and for links to other important organisations in the African wood sector click here.