Using available timber resources

Employing wood as a resource
Exploiting timber
In the European Union, forest-based and related industries employed more than 2.3 million people, in the manufacture of paper and cardboard, for example, and in printing and publishing, in 1999. The figure rose to 3.6 million once the furniture industry and the manufacture of certain chemicals and special equipment were included. Forests covered some 36% of EU territory, and a little over two thirds of them could be exploited. Although the wood from European forests was roughly twice as expensive as wood from the Americas and south-east Asia, European industry used locally produced timber because of its proximity and quality, and for environmental reasons.

The Indian government has put forward a controversial land leasing scheme which would turn over large tracts of degraded forest (forest with less than 40 percent tree cover) and wasteland to wood-based industries for commercial planting. The government would ask industry to grow forest species on 15-20 percent of the degraded land on lease. The government said reclaiming 5 million hectares of land a year would create jobs for 2.5 million people. With an estimated cost of Rs30,000 for each hectare of land reclaimed, the government believed industry's involvement in the scheme was essential. According to government and industry officials, there was enough degraded land to make timber production sustainable. Biogenetic and technological developments will help India to achieve a more sustainable, balanced forestry policy, by developing species that are more productive, more robust, faster-growing and easier than conventional species to reproduce. The government argues that commercial plantation will thus help to restore environmental and ecological equilibrium.

1. Timber is a natural resource which is renewable, in principle, provided we are careful. An ecological exploitation of forests should normally encourage reforestation.
Counter Claim:
Giving industry land for growing trees on a commercial scale in India will deny access to villagers and their cattle. Giving degraded land to industry will lead to further degradation as land will be used for fast-growing, soil-depleting species like eucalyptus. Industrial plantation will result in conflicts between industry, forest officials and the local people. Leasing degraded land to industry will drive the villagers to the hills for fuel wood. Intensively managed plantations will inhibit biodiversity.
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth