New Chinese Policy Favors Wood
MOHURD’s Minister Chen publicly supports wood
On May 4, 2016, Minister Chen highlighted the environmental benefits of wood compared to steel and concrete and discussed the need to promote wood construction. The speech detailed how the latest 5-year plan will impact the direction of MOHURD. The full speech was posted on China Network Television’s homepage, China’s 16th most visited website (5 million weekly visitors). Wood was discussed for approx. 5 min (Total: 2 hours). Contents of the speech have been included in training materials for the National State Council’s Chinese Academy of Governance.
Logging restrictions extended*
In February 2016, The Chinese government announced it will ban all commercial logging in natural forests by 2017 and logging quotas in plantation forests have been reduced by 6.3% for the period 2016 – 2020. It is likely that restrictions on domestic supply will increase demand for imports, especially hardwood. Natural forests account for approx. 49 million m3 of China’s total annual timber production of 84.38 million.
While this news is positive, there are two major areas of uncertainty:
- The volume of softwood the restrictions will cover
- The degree to which the logging ban will be enforced
* The new commercial logging restrictions extend on a series of previous commercial logging bans introduced since 1998 as part of the National Forest Protection Program (NFPP), which aim to combat deforestation.