A global shortage of wood and soaring prices are threatening Japan’s lumber industry and has business operators fearing serious damage to the domestic market, reported by THE JAPAN TIMES.

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According to China Customs in the first quarter of 2021 log imports from Germany surged 90 percent to 3.28 million cubic metres and sawnwood imports from Germany grew 37 percent to 950 000 cubic metres.

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Turkey has started implementing limitations on exports of some raw materials of furniture, including flakeboard, oriented strand board, fiberboard and some types of wood, reported from Hurriyet Daily News.

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The 2020 year-end statistics on certification in Canada show little change from 2019. The minor changes can be attributed to transfers of forest management areas from one forest management organization to another. The transfer may cause a ‘pause’ in the listing of the certification. Blame fires, mountain pine beetle and COVID-19, which have caused the closure of several sawmills, according to Canadian Forest Industries.

The total area certified to the requirements of the three certification programs used in Canada at the end of 2020 was 183.7 million hectares (ha). But there are about 20 million ha of forest that has been certified to Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) as well as to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This ‘double counting’ must be removed to get a true figure for the total area of forest certified in Canada. The total certified area with ‘double counting’ removed is 164.3 million ha.

The maximum area of forest likely to be certified in Canada is estimated to be 175 million ha. There will be some certification among the 450,000 private woodlots covering about 20 million ha but certification of small properties is complex and expensive – most woodlot owners do not harvest every year and are unlikely to get involved. The vast majority of larger blocks of forest, whether Crown Land Forests or large privately-owned forests, have been certified to one of the three certification programs used in Canada (CSA, FSC or SFI).

Internationally, forest certification continues to be a competition between the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and FSC. Under PEFC, 324,587,605 ha have been certified to 40 national Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) standards that have been reviewed and endorsed by the PEFC. Both SFI and CSA are endorsed by PEFC. Under FSC, 223,707,812 ha have been certified.

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According to theborneopost.com, Sabah Timber Industries Association (STIA) President, Tan Peng Juan, welcomed the decision by the Chief Minister, Hajiji Noor, confirming that Sabah”s log export ban will be maintained.

Tan said this decision has come as a big relief to existing and potential investors in the timber sector. He pointed out the log export ban will help provide job security for the approximately 24,000 employed in the timber industry as will initiatives being developed such as the Sabah Timber Industry Masterplan and the Sabah Forestry and Timber Industry Council.

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Dr. Nurudeen Iddrisu, Director of Operations and Acting Executive Director of the Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of the Forestry Commission has called for collaboration between companies operating in the export and domestic markets to ensure the sustainability of Ghana”s forests, reported from modernghana.com.

At a workshop “Preparing Domestic Market Players Towards FLEGT Licensing”, Dr. Iddrisu said partnership between the two sectors of the timber industry would lead to a sustained supply of wood for domestic processing.

He disclosed that the Forestry Commission is to implement a 100% Yield Removal Policy that mandates concessionaires remove species in the yield allocation even if there is no immediate export market for these timbers.

According to Iddrisu the practice of concessionaires to harvest only their preferred species for export denies supplies to mills processing for the domestic market.

Iddirsu said “With this new policy, we require them (concessionaires) to harvest all so they can sell the other species to the domestic timber merchants; that would ensure constant supply of wood on the market and curb illegal logging,”

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Prices have been on a strong run since November last year due to Chinese demand and a gap in supply, a Canterbury forestry consultant and exporter says, reported by RNZ.

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According to ITTO, the good news from the majority of European hardwood plywood importers interviewed March 2021 was that they were making money. They reported demand ranging from firm to booming across the market, from the construction and DIY sector to merchants and furniture makers. Moreover, customers were willing to pay a healthy price.

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Demand for American hardwoods in India is expected to return to 2019 levels this year, according to the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry. 

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During 2020 Russia’s export of sawn goods made more than 18.5 mn tons, down 6.4 percent year-on-year. According to the RF Federal Customs Service’s statistics, in terms of value, sawn goods export was down 4.2 percent making $4.3 bn, reports from Sea News.

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