As the world’s population grows (reaching 7 billion, October 2011), so does the demand for wood. For thousands of years wood has been essential and irreplaceable material in the construction industry, furniture making, tool production and in the manufacture of paper. And there are no signs that the market for timber is reducing – quite the opposite in fact. The United Nation’s Food & Agriculture Organization estimates that by 2030, world consumption of industrial round wood will increase by 60% from current levels. Given the country’s rapid growth, it’s hardly surprising to find that China is now the world’s second largest consumer of wood and the world’s largest importer of timber products, in fact more than half of the worlds’ stock of timber finds its way to China.
The problem is however that as more and more governments around the world implement natural forest deforestation policies, which specifically exclude the use of natural forests for wood production, wood could become a much scarcer commodity. The United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization, estimates that currently up to 75% of the world’s forests are protected by a national forest program: In South America approximately 90% of forests are covered under the same program.
Hence the need for, and rapid growth of, forest plantations.