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China:Timber shortages restrain expansion of panel industry
Asia Observatory

20 April 2007

China:Timber shortages restrain expansion of panel industry

China’s wood-based panel industry has been growing at a double digit rates in recent years in tandem with its economy. The country’s total output of wood-based panels reached 63.94 million m3 in 2005 and is predicted to be around 80 million m3 by the end of the Eleventh Five-year Plan in 2010. However, the industry’s expansion is being constrained by raw material shortages. China’s timber production from state-owned forests has fallen to about 55 million m3 since the implementation of Natural Forest Protection Programme (NFPP). Most domestic timber is of small diameter and not suitable for plywood face and back. It is not used for fiberboard and particle board due to its higher prices. Branches and processing residues are not widely used by wood-based panel enterprises due to higher transportation costs. Imported timber with larger diameter and good quality is suitable for plywood face and back. However, import prices have been increasing due to log export restrictions in producer countries. Local experts have recommended wood-based panel companies to establish raw materials forest bases, use substitution products (such as shrubs, bamboo and crop stalks) and recycle waste wood.