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Timber harvests higher in 'central east' Europe

02-10-2013 kl. 16:52
The volumes of timber harvested annually in Europe has remained broadly flat at around 370 million m3 per year, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

However, closer analysis of the data shows an interesting trend, with annual harvests in the 'central west' region - Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland - declining by 15 per cent over the four years between 2008 and 2012, when compared with 2003 through 2007.

Over the same period, the volumes of timber produced in the 'central east' zone, which includes Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, increased by four per cent. This region now harvests greater amounts than central west area, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. 

In addition to the fact that log production in central west Europe has declined over the past five years, so too has consumption of logs within the forestry industry, with annual usage down by an average of nine per cent between 2008-2012 in comparison to 2003-2007.

Germany, which has traditionally been a net exporter of logs, became a net importer in 2009 and has continued in this manner. During the first five months of 2013, the country imported a net total of two million m3 of softwood logs, whereas in 2008 it exported a net total of 1.6 million m3.

This is representative of the broader trends in the area, with the wider central west region becoming a net importer of logs since 2008, something that was not the case over the previous five years.

The Wood Resource Quarterly also shows that sawlog prices in Germany and the Czech Republic have generally been closely linked over the past 15 years, but the latter nation has seen its prices close the gap on those received in the eurozone's largest economy.

In the 1990's, average prices in the Czech Republic were around 60 per cent of those recorded in Germany, but this has advanced to 80 per cent in recent years.

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