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Forestry and Related Services
The country’s 1.2 million hectares of timber plantations produce between 15 million and 18 million tons of timber every year. Timber is a renewable resource and forests play an important role in climate change mitigation. There is a growing timber shortage in South Africa, and the industry is struggling to secure enough suitable land to plant new forests. Eleven forestry companies, about 1,100 commercial timber farmers and 20,000 small-scale farmers, representing over 90% of South Africa’s forestry industry, are members of industry body Forestry South Africa. South Africa is a significant exporter of forest-related products, and pulp, paper and solid wood are the industry’s main exports.
Increasingly, processing plant by-products (biomass) are being used to generate electricity. As technology improves, large companies that manufacture pulp and paper products are moving into the bioeconomy and major players such as Sappi, Mondi, MTO and York are beginning to integrate biofuel into their products. There significant potential for biofuel since sawmill operators produce large quantities of biomass and some companies are using biomass to generate electricity and establish biorefineries.
Local Economic Impact
Most of the forestry industry’s workforce lives in rural communities. The industry contributes to local economies through job creation, social services and infrastructure development. There has been significant development of small-scale growers, who are usually located near to larger industry players that have harvesting and transport capacity.
This report focuses on Forestry and Related Services and includes the sawmilling and treatment of poles subsectors. It includes comprehensive information on the state and size of the sector, production, trade and labour statistics and sector developments. There are profiles of 27 companies including major players such as Sappi and Mondi, Lion Match Forestry and PG Bison, the state-owned industry player Safcol and milling and timber product companies such as Plantation Sawmilling and Boards and Stevens Lumber Mills.