Forestry - International Trade
The area covered by forests in the world is about 3.9 billion hectares, with one billion in Europe, 800 million in South America, 700 million in North and Central America, 630 million in Africa, 570 million in Asia and 200 million in Oceania. World consumption of wood and wood products is... Read more
World consumption of wood and wood products is estimated at 1.55 billion m3 in 2006, of which 34.2% is paper, 27.7% processed wood products, 12% sawn wood, 10.7% wood panels, 7.8% wood pulp and 4.9% trunks and wood chips.
The globalization of the economy, and demographic and economic development have led the worldwide wood product trade to go from 60 billion dollars in 1986 to 257 billion dollars in 2006, according to statistics provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The European and North American countries have been the main wood processors for a long time. However, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia are upsetting the former balance. China has become the world''s leading exporter of furniture to the detriment of Italy, which was the leader in the past. A new balance will have to be found as the worldwide wood trade should reach 450 billion dollars in 2020, fuelled especially by the continuation of world population growth and the development of new middle classes. Countries will therefore have to export twice as much by this date in order to maintain their present global market share. The rise in world energy prices will be another challenge: the demand for wood to be used for energy purposes will grow and will influence world prices to a great extent. Development strategies in terms of both production costs and logistics will become increasingly essential.
A stake in sustainable development which will gain more and more weight in the years to come is the certification of forests, by producers and customers but especially by States. Forest certification labels have been set up to face the threat of international boycotts. These labels guarantee that forest management is sufficiently developed for the production of wood not to endanger natural resources. Production costs are consequently higher and repercussions in market terms have not been estimated, but this certification will necessarily become a strategy which is essential for the international competitiveness of wood producing countries if they want sustainable resources.
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