The global forest products industry is slowly recovering from the economic crisis, with the Asia-Pacific region and particularly China taking the lead.
A new data published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicates that an average global production of the main forest products grew by one to four percent in 2011 as compared to 2010 showing that countries are slowly coming out of recession.
This was contained in a press statement on Tuesday copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra.
According to the statement, production of wood-based panels and paper in 2011, for example, was above the pre-crisis levels of 2007 and appeared to be growing relatively strong in most regions, whereas global production of industrial round wood despite an increase of three per cent in 2011 over the figure for 2010 had not so far reached the pre-crisis levels.
The statement said: “In the markets for pulp and paper, overall growth was very modest over the period 2007-2011, with a growth trend of about one percent per year. However, this conceals major differences at the regional level, where pulp and paper production and consumption is increasing significantly in the Asia-Pacific region, but generally declining in Europe and North America.”
It said China was increasing its importance as producer of forest products, becoming the world’s second largest producer of sawn wood after USA and having overtaken Canada.
The statement explained that China had also increased its lead over all other countries as a producer of wood-based panels, paper and paperboard.
The statement noted that in 2011, China produced 11 percent of the world’s sawn wood, 38 percent of its panels and 26 percent of its paper.
It said China was also playing a key role in international trade in forest products, being the largest importer of industrial round wood, sawn wood, pulp and wastepaper and the largest exporter of wood-based panels.
According to the statement China was the fifth largest importer of paper and paperboard, despite a huge increase in domestic production since 2007, adding that in 2011, China’s imports of all forest products amounted to $43 billion and now accounted for 16 percent of the global total.
“The structure of production and trade in the Russian Federation, the largest forest country in the world, has also changed in the last five years, with a decline in industrial round wood exports by 29 million cubic metres or by nearly 60 percent and an increase in sawn wood production by three million cubic metres or by eight percent.
“Over the same period of time Russia has increased its sawn wood exports by 13 percent,” the statement said.
It said a high proportion of Russian industrial round wood exports previously went to China; however, the amount fell from 2007 to 2009 due to log export restrictions in Russia.
The statement said nevertheless, Chinese imports of industrial round wood had recovered and some other major producing countries, including the United States of America, Canada and New Zealand, had expanded exports to China.
It stated that at present, FAO’s forest product statistics database contained 1.2 million entries, covering production and trade of 52 products, 21 product groups and 245 countries and territories.
The statement said FAO’s free online database now contained statistics for the last 50 years.
“The FAO database provides the world’s most comprehensive and internationally comparable statistics for forest products, a crucial tool for making policy and investment decisions”, it stated.