EU legislation threatens to halve wood availability

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According to the current study by the Thünen Institute “Assessment of Possible Production Leakage from Implementing the EU Biodiversity Strategy on Forest Product Markets”, the economy and environment in the European Union will already have to reckon with dramatic disadvantages in this decade if the EU were to enforce further restrictions on the use of forests. In two different scenarios, the team of authors calculated what the consequences would be if wood was not used more. According to the results of the study, as early as 2030, in an “intensive scenario”, EU roundwood production can be expected to fall by 48% compared to the reference scenario, a drop that will rise to 58% by mid-century. Specifically, EU roundwood production would only reach just under 282 million m³ in 2030 (2017: 474 million m³). A decisive factor: The harvest of trees whose age is already beyond the usual rotation period would be omitted. In a second scenario with “moderate” tightening, the roundwood production will fall by about 9% in 2030 and by 11% by mid-century.

The dramatic decrease in logging in the "intensive scenario" is accompanied by drastic production decreases in today's core products of the EU timber industry. In this "intensive scenario" a reduction in the production of industrial logs in the EU by around 50% can be expected. By a similar magnitude, the manufacture of lumber and pulp, the core products of key industries, would shrink. The provision of firewood for bioenergetic use would fall even more. At the same time, the authors expect that the consumption of sawn timber and wood-based materials will remain practically constant compared to the reference scenario. That means: While there is a lack of wood from domestic production, the demand in important segments is covered by more imports, among other things.

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