4. Recent trends in Forestry and the Forest Industry
(Overview of the supply and demand of wood)
The demand for wood in Japan has gone below 100 million m3 since 1998 and has declined toless than 90 million m3 since 2002.
Owing to the increase in the use of domestic wood for sawnwood and plywood, the supply of wood has risen since 2002, and in 2005 the self-sufficiency rate of industrial wood reverted to the level of 20% for the first time in seven years.
As for imported wood, the importing pattern has shifted from logs to wood products, with the import of wood products exceeding 80% of all imports. The share of European wood (Whitewood (Picea abies) sawnwood and laminated wood), and Chinese lumber laminated wood and plywood has shown a growth tendency.
(Changes in home building needs)
Eighty percent of houses made using post and beam construction method use the pre-cut system. Therefore, the needs for products of high quality and performance, with properties such as dryness, dimensional stability, and strength, have risen.
Since laminated wood has clearly measured strength, size stability, and a stable supply, its market share is expanding. Although there have been no significant changes in new construction starts of dwellings since 1998, the supply of laminated wood has more than doubled.
Because of the fall in the demand for Japanese-style rooms, the needs for esthetic appearance in structural wood have changed. On the other hand, in order to promote the use of domestic wood, it is important to develop new products for the interiors of apartment houses in addition to construction materials.
(Overview of the domestic wood supply system)
The pattern of raw wood supply remains small-scale and dispersed. This is the main reason for the difficulties in planning efficient log production and providing raw wood.
Many lumber mills remain small in scale and the proportion of kiln-dried lumber among domestic lumber is a mere 20%.
It is necessary for forestry, which supply raw wood, and the forest industry, which uses raw wood, to cooperate with each other to build a stable supply system in order to become competitive.
(Recent trends in the timber trade)
Global timber trade is on an upward trend as the demand for wood and wood products has expanded worldwide, especially in China.
Around half Japanfs timber exports go to China and the United States. The increase in logs has mainly gone to China.
Japan is promoting various measures to tackle illegal logging, both domestically and globally, in cooperation with the other countries concerned, and has introduced a government procurement policy favoring wood and wood products that have been harvested in a legal and sustainable manner.
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