Forest power in Spain… and in Europe

Galicia cuts in a week more than in a whole year Canarias, Madrid and Murcia regions together. It achieves this despite the fact that 87% comes from smallholder plots. 47% of the total production in Spain and exceeds 3.5% of the raw material in the euro countries.

With 87% of the wood generated in smallholdings, Galicia manages to maintain itself as a European forestry power. This is confirmed by the report “A cadea forestal-Madeira de Galicia 2017”, coordinated by the director of the Escola de Enxeñaría Forestal, Juan Picos, made this center of the Pontevedra campus of University of Vigo with the Axencia da Industria Forestal (Xera) of the Xunta de Galicia. Not only does it certify that the historical mark of wood cutting was beaten, since with almost 8.6 million m3 the previous maximum record of 2015 was pulverized, the last official figure with 8,253,000 m3. It also provides information on who and how they cut.

Fig.1 Harvest volume and request by species

These figures represent 47% of total production in Spain, 1.9% of roundwood generated in the EU-28 and more than 3.5% of that obtained in the eurozone. The report points out that the temporary distribution of uses, estimated from the presentation of administrative requests, “is relatively constant throughout the year at a rate of between 20,000 and 30,000 m3 per day, 165,000 per week.” This means that “on average in a week Galicia takes as much wood as in a year in the Valencian Community or Andalusia, or, jointly, in the Canary Islands, Madrid and Murcia”. To make these claims, they warn us, use the data of the Ministry of Agriculture for 2014.

Another curiosity of the study points out that “for the transport of harvested wood in Galicia the order of 1,000 to 1,100 truck trips per day is required”. If we pass it to an annual calculation we would exceed three hundred thousand trailers of accumulated trailers.

Returning to the annual distribution of cut requests in 2017, Picos and his team detected “an increase in requests, particularly in conifers, to be able to carry out cutting of the wood affected by the October fire wave” in order to to take advantage of it “before its total deterioration”

Where is more cut?

Fig.2 Forest districts in Galicia. Source: Xunta de Galicia

The report shows that the north weighs more than the south of Galicia in forestry. Mariña Lucense, with 1.2 million m3, is the forestry district with the highest volume of felling in 2017, although another five are in the vicinity of one million: Bergantiños-Mariñas Coruñesas; Ferrol-Ortegal; Lugo-Sarria; Santiago-Interior Plateau; and also the Terra Chá.

In the six districts listed, three from Lugo and three from A Coruña, the analysis stands out, concentrating 71% of the wood harvests. “There are only two Autonomous Communities that have exceeded the volume of annual use of any of these forest districts,” they say.

The following six districts in the list (three from Pontevedra, two from A Coruña and one from Lugo) account for 24%, and the last seven – where the entire province of Ourense is located – account for less than 5% of the total cuts.

Profile of the forest owner

To know who is who in the wood cutting in Galicia, the Escola de Enxeñaría Forestal attended the registration of applications, which reached 117,301. Thus we know that in 2017 the legal entities requested the cut of 1,034,410 m³ (13% of the total) and the remaining 7,563,741 (87%) were requested by individuals, with 42% of the volume sold by women and 58 % for men. Legal persons attended 5,318 applications (5%) and individuals 111,982 (95%)

Among the legal entities stand out the communities of neighboring mountains in common hand with 851.233 m³ of harvested wood, almost a tenth of the cuts. Above 10,000 m³, there are the patrimonies of forestry companies (48,227 m³), heirs and family associations (37,743 m³), groups of forest owners with juridical personality (32,668 m³), uses linked to agribusiness and agro-food companies (15,784 m³) and real estate and financial (15,170 m³).

The report details that in the provinces of A Coruña and Lugo individual private property accounts for practically all forest exploitation (95.5 and 96%, respectively), a percentage that in Ourense drops to 77.5% and in Pontevedra only assumes 45.6%. In the latter province, forest communities are responsible for 53.1% of harvested wood, with figures of 76.8 and 80.8% in the forest districts of O Condado-A Paradanta and Vigo-Baixo Miño.

According to the tree

Regarding the distribution of species by type of holder, the Picos team sees “evident the difference between individual holders and forest communities”. In the former, eucalyptus wood accounts for approximately 50% of the volume of land use in 2017 and pine wood for around 35%, while in the latter, the pine increases by 66% of the wood and the eucalyptus does not reach 30% .

READ ALSO: Will Forest Reference Levels limit harvests and wood industry development in the EU?

You can read the full report on this link

Source: A cadea forestal-Madeira de Galicia 2017 and El Correo Gallego

Main photo author: Isaac Sanz Canencia

Leave a Reply