INTERFORST is Backed by an
Industry with Great Economic Strength
INTERFORST 2018 is backed, at least indirectly, by an industry with considerable economic strength. In nearly 128,000 companies of the forestry and wood cluster, more than 1.1 employees generate annual sales of approximately 180 billion euros. Thus, more people are working in this sector than for example in the mechanical engineering and plant manufacturing sectors or in the automotive industry, as the Federation of German Forest Owners Associations [Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Waldbesitzer, AGDW 2018] and the German Forestry Council [Deutscher Forstwirtschaftsrat, DFWR 2018] emphasize.
The forestry and wood cluster includes the following economic sectors: the forestry sector, the woodworking industry, the wood processing industry, wood processing in the building industry, the paper industry, the publishing and printing sector as well as the timber business. Even though the forestry sector, with shares of two percent in sales and eight percent in the number of employees, only plays a subordinate role, it forms the basis of the wood processing chain and its economic output due to sustainable forest management.
Great significance for rural areas
"Particularly in rural areas, many workplaces depend directly or indirectly on the forest sector and the forest-based industries. They have a great economic importance here. Thus, this economic sector provides an income to approximately two million forest owners. Many companies from the forest-based industries have their location entirely or partially in rural areas", states Georg Schirmbeck, President of the DFWR. Globalization has brought about an enormous boom for the forestry sector and the forest-based industries in the last few years, partly because of the increasing scarcity of fossil resources (cluster analysis, NW-FVA 2007). "In this context, our forest owners, who are cultivating their forests in a sustainable and forward-looking manner, supply wood as a climate-neutral raw material. The used wood removes carbon from the atmosphere and binds it in wood products. In addition, it replaces energy-intensive substances, such as concrete, steel or oil", Georg Schirmbeck goes on to say.
48 percent of the forest is privately owned
One third of Germany, namely 11.4 million hectares in total, is covered by forests. The basis for the high benefit of the forestry and wood cluster are sustainably cultivated forests. According to information provided by the Federal Statistical Office, there were 29,408 forestry operations in total in 2016. They cultivated a forest area (including short rotational plantations) covering 7,155,201 ha. A large part of the forest belongs to private forest owners (48 percent). Fifty percent of the private forest account for what is referred to as private micro forests, i.e. forests smaller than 20 hectares in size. To be able to ensure sustainable forest management in spite of this unfavorable ownership structure, approximately 430,000 forest owners have organized themselves in some 3,600 forestry cooperatives.
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