60 years’ rotation

November 19, 2021. – When discussing with plywood experts everybody says how difficult it is to predict the near future. The market factors are various from rising costs to log shortage, and anti-dumping to crazy freight prices.

The normal time perspective of the wood panel business is in months, quarters, and years. Company strategies are valid a bit further but after five years of age, they start to taste like old milk. On the opposite end are the mill investments. Those decisions carry for several decades. That is a long time. 

In the Southern part of the world, the rotation time of a tree can be under 10 years. In the Northern hemisphere, some softwood species take up to 60 years to grow to log size. That is a long time. The seed we plant today is ready for harvesting in 2081.

By the end of this year, the EU is updating its Forest Strategy for 2030 to align with the European Green Deal initiative. The 27 member states have their own approaches to sustainable forest management. Aligning the different views is not easy.

Perhaps more than ever, forest and wood utilisation is in the spotlight on every continent. In addition to a raw material source, forests are now seen as carbon sinks. A sustainable balance between the two roles requires wise thinking. The decisions in forest management practices are made today but the crops of those decisions will be harvested with a long delay. 

Together with the shorter-term business, we need to play the long-term sustainability game. That is our responsibility for the next wood people to come. If we neglect that responsibility, the future plywood generations are left only with old peeling cores from the 2020s.