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Report, 2009

The Republik of South Africa´s forest sector

Lönnstedt, Lars


The South African consumption of paper and paperboard in 2006 was about 2.5 million tons. The total production was 2.9 million tons. (Sweden’s was 12 million tons.) Production of “Other paper and paperboard” was domi-nating (1.8 million tons), other than “Printing and writing paper” and “Newsprint”. The total export of paper and paperboard was almost 1 million tons. (Export of paper and paperboard from Sweden was 10.8 million tons.) The South African consumption of sawn wood was about 2.5 million m3. The total production was about 2.1 million m3. (Sweden’s was about 17.8 million m3.) Total export was almost 1 million m3. (The Swedish’ was 13.2 million m3.) The forest resources consist of three main types: Plantations, indigenous/natural forests and woodlands/savannas. Plantations cover almost 1.3 million ha of South Africa and are one of the largest planted forests in the world. Indigenous forests cover approximately 0.5 million ha. Savannas contribute the bulk of the wooded land area. Depending on how woodlands are classified the area ranges between 29 and 46 million ha. The round wood production was about 30 million m3 solid volume excl. bark, compared with Sweden’s 62 million m3. About one third of this volume is coming from plantations. The industrial use is about 60% (18 million m3) for South Africa and 90% (56 million m3) for Sweden. The rest is used as fuel wood and charcoal. The conifer share of the industrial wood is for South Africa 30% and for Sweden 95%. One advantage for the forest products industry is the well-managed plantations with quickly maturing trees. However, there is a limit for how much land that is suitable for plantations. Another restriction regarding plantation is water supply. The land restitution causes uncertainty about the short term availability of round wood. Thus, supply of wood raw material put an upper limit for the industry’s possibility to expand. Another restriction is electricity supply. Further more, there is a shortage of skilled workers. The sawmilling industry does not show the success story of the pulp and paper industry. Of course the development of the country itself is most important for the development of the forest sector


pulp and paper; sawmills; plantations; consumption; production; export; forest products; round wood

Published in

Rapport (SLU, Institutionen för skogens produkter)
2009, number: 12
Publisher: Department of Forest Products, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Lönnstedt, Lars
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Products

UKÄ Subject classification

Social Sciences
Forest Science
Economics and Business

URI (permanent link to this page)