The forestry sector of the Community will not be competitive in the future without a rationalization of the logging and transport operations.
The problem is expected to be most serious for the production of small dimensioned wood. Firstly, the supply of industrial small dimensioned wood is growing faster than the supply of large dimensioned wood like sawlogs. Secondly, the production of fast growing species for pulp production for example is rising in low cost countries like Brazil and Chile. In the fairly high cost countries outside the Community, intensive research is being carried out to develop new harvesting systems for small trees. These new systems will drastically reduce the costs of logging and transport, and already systems are in operation in the United States of America that have more than halved the costs of harvesting small trees.
The competition is such that national industries are unable to pay more for the wood than the international market price. Therefore the wood industries of the community memberstates will be unable to compete internationally, unless the harvesting costs are reduced by rationalization as has been done in the United States of America, Sweden, and Finland. The most recent statistics published by FAO/ECE demonstrate that this lack of competitiveness already exists.
The objectives of the coordination action are as follows:
to identify and describe the technical logging and transport problems in each of the member states;
to identify the problems which are common for a majority of the member states;
to identify those of the common problems which might be solved through research cooperation, and the solution of which will best fulfil the objective of the CEC forest research programme.
Three conferences (each of 3 days) will be held; one in a southern community member state, one in a central one and one in a northern one. The main themes to be discussed are:
logging and transport of thinnings;
logging and transport on small forest properties;
logging and transport on adverse terrain including mountainous areas.