You may have noticed the recent lack of S.A. Pine and more specifically Pinus Radiata, the species sourced from the Southern Cape of South Africa, a very high quality timber widely used in construction, joinery, furniture and cabinetmaking and for decorative veneers. The sizes most effected are those with thicker sections, longer lengths and odd increments.
Online Building share some insights as to why this is taking place:
20 years ago the South Africa government actioned stringent restrictions in the issue of Forestry and Plantation permits. The reason at the time was an impending water shortage, the result 20 years on is now a shortage in S.A. Pine timber.
This year and last year’s fires in the Southern Cape is having a serious effect on the Forestry and Plantation Industry. Last year’s fires burnt 17 600 hectares of commercial timber plantations, of which 12 700 hectares were totally destroyed. The result of this is an annual loss in the Southern Cape timber industry of sawn logs worth R121-million, which would have produced sawn timber worth R285-million. To replant the area will cost R90-million. It also caused a total loss of 2 000 jobs.
What could happen should we run out of S.A. Pine?
Fires and limitation on Forestry licences is sure to impact the construction sector especially when considering that 70% of our timber plantations solely supply the construction industry. It is expected that South Africa will have to start importing more than half of their timber requirements within the next two decades. This will surely drive up costs.
The government needs to consider issuing more plantation licenses and establish better ways to grow trees that don’t impact the environment.
Find more efficient ways to use a tree. Currently, only 49% of a tree is used, of which 40% of that is only used in the structural industry, for example using more finger jointed timber will allow for less waste.
- Article, by Colleen Goko, on the 13th of March in the Business Day.
- George Herald, 7 November 2018, Michael Peter, executive director of Forestry South Africa
- Agri News, June 23, 2017. Sawmilling South Africa executive director Roy Southey.
- A Forestry Online, January 2015, on the benefits of Biligom initially meant for the informal market are outlined.
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