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Paulo Roberto Pupo

Superintendent of Abimci - Brazilian Association of the Mechanically Processed Wood Industry


Forest Brazil and timber Brazil

The Brazilian forestry sector has achieved notable results, especially when it comes to planted forests. They demonstrate excellent productivity, based on the best planting technologies, the genetic development of the main species used, pine and eucalyptus, and the participation of a technical team of professionals and specialists involved in forestry production, who are certainly among the best in the world.

The result could not be different, other than positioning Brazil as one of the most important and exponent players when it comes to forestry development, productivity per hectare and the quality of our forests. Various sources in Brazil estimate the area of planted forests at around 9.5 and 11 million hectares, depending on the methodology used.

Taking as a basis the 2022 Sector Study of the Brazilian Association of the Mechanically Processed Wood Industry, a comprehensive document that shows the breadth of our forest matrix and the wood industry, I understand that, even considering the planted area of 9.5 million hectares, it responds for more than 90% of the entire supply of logs for the Brazilian industry in the most different segments and uses of the raw material.

We know that the majority of forestry production is destined for the production of paper and cellulose, which is somewhat understandable, as these segments use shorter forestry cycles and an economic profile with dynamic and constant changes. However, when we look at the processed wood industry, with its efficient installed industrial park, which has been modernizing rapidly, it becomes clear that our products are in good condition for global competitiveness in different segments, such as plywood, panels, sawn wood, frames, doors, floors, pellets, among others.

From a macro perspective, the balance of national forest supply may be adjusted and appear adequate, but this scenario requires deeper reflection. The pandemic years have significantly changed the dynamics of consumption and forest supply costs around the world, and we are seeing these challenging impacts. The levels of production, revenue and results measured by the forest-based industry in recent years are no longer reality.

In addition to this, the recent logistical chaos witnessed affected the delivery performance of some of our products in several of the main destinations, which impacted our actions and positioning in the market. Importing markets around the world sought to adapt to overcome the difficulties faced in receiving products, whether looking for our competitors or even expanding and readjusting their local productions.

In short, this is the new market dynamic. The positive results achieved recently cannot be seen as a standard, much less used as a basis for planning. Companies will no longer have the same results achieved, and, yes, we are facing the challenges inherited from this imbalance in production and supply costs.

The big challenge is how we can get out of this situation without losing the opportunities that surround us. In the industrial wood sector, sustainable constructions with wood are certainly a great opportunity to generate business scale and increase per capita consumption of wood in Brazil.

The construction system with engineered wood, for example, is presenting itself as an important solution, as the industrial process used for its manufacture provides wood with mechanical resistance, durability, workability, flexibility in different types of projects and constructions. Furthermore, the system allows for a reduction in construction time, less waste generation on site and low impact on the environment.

Another important initiative was the development of the Brazilian technical standard for the wooden frame system. The recent publication of the document by the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards, the result of intense technical work that involved several interested parties and experts on the subject, will certainly provide an evolution and gain in scale in this industrialized construction system in Brazil. Reduction in construction execution time and waste generation; Energy savings and environmental gains, such as carbon stock, are some of the many positive factors of wooden frame constructions. This system also offers us a unique opportunity to propose changes in national housing policy, which, with its growing production capacity, will place wood as one of the alternatives to contribute to reducing the Brazilian housing deficit.

Both systems have attractive characteristics for the construction market, as they follow the main premises of using sustainable materials in works, comply with Environmental, Social and Governance principles and store carbon throughout the useful life of the project.

Practical examples of the advancement of these construction systems are already underway, focused on the development of public policies and incentives for construction with wood. Technical missions have been carried out in markets already consolidated in the use of these systems, seeking a better understanding of the involvement of government entities and gathering subsidies for the development of an action plan for sustainable constructions with wood. Approaches and exchange of information with technical Government bodies, with financing entities, as well as research centers, have been structured, for example, in the state of Paraná, with the New Research and Innovation Arrangement, the NAPI Wood Tech Paraná, a collaborative network focused on applied research and innovation, focusing on the use of wood in civil construction.

It is up to everyone involved in the timber and forest-based sector to take advantage of the opportunities and the promising future that has been structured. But for this to be possible, we need to understand and have a clear vision that national forest management and production cannot just be centered on the use of the pulp and paper segments, as we are much more than that. We cannot have the most expensive logs in the world, which is the current sad scenario, which takes us out of the commercial and competitive game.

We need to encourage discussions about forest supply, seeking longer cycles for the processed wood industry. I am not referring to a radical change in forest management, but rather to greater attention so that a portion of our forests is destined for timber and structural use. This may be a cultural issue, of understanding the advantages of longer forestry cycles.

This way, we will have enough raw material to meet the growing demand for wood construction and take advantage of the opportunities that surround us. These changes will increasingly consolidate wood, which has high potential for growth, generating business, employment, income and sustainability for our industry, forests and society.