21 | 12 | 2021

As we have seen in the article of the month of March “Price of wood and production of pallets: what are the viable roads?”, the lack of raw material has afflicted the entire Italian industry for months: on the one hand, fewer and fewer trunks, on the other hand, demand has increased exponentially.

The wood supply chain in Italy

Italy is heavily dependent on foreign countries for many basic components for production and today imports 80% of its timber. The paradox, however, is that in our country there is no lack of wood, on the contrary. As underlined by the data recently collected by Assolegno, an association of FederlegnoArredo that represents primary processing industries and wood builders, in the last 70 years the wooded area has tripled, from 5.6 million hectares to over 11 million and covers 38% of the national area. “Let’s not forget that Italian forests, in addition to representing the natural reservoir for carbon dioxide fixation and containing the negative effects of climate change, also represent an important driver of socio-economic development in the marginal, rural and mountain areas of our country”, said Angelo Luigi Marchetti, president of Assolegno.

The National Wood Exchange

For this reason, and also to cope with skyrocketing prices and mitigate market instability, it is of fundamental importance to create an Italian cluster for the management and enhancement of forest resources. Thus the project of the first Italian Wood Exchange born, an initiative promoted by FederlegnoArredo and Uncem (National Union of Municipalities and Communities of Mountain Bodies), which will give life to a digital platform for timber, a virtual place where the industrial sector and the world of research can dialogue. The goal of this strategy? Bringing supply chains together and fostering development, bringing together demand and supply of timber, uniting those pieces of the economic and business world that are not spoken to each other today, increasing the value of the material, using more local materials and opening new markets. Investing in skills and training woodcutters, sawmen, selectors and carpenters: this is another key element in the current panorama. Very often, in fact, finding trained personnel is even more difficult than finding the raw material.

How to enhance the Italian forest heritage

Hence the need for:

  • reorganize the Italian wood supply chain, which has been lost over time, creating thousands of jobs and investing in sawmills, larger and more technologically advanced companies and training courses;
  • build proximity economies, so as to limit imports and develop local supply chains, with significant economic, social and environmental advantages;
  • promote a culture of the forest based on management and not on abandonment: a well-kept and well-managed forest is a certified and safe forest, which protects the land from hydrogeological risks and guarantees reforestation;
  • focus on the Italian forest and national wood processing companies, to support in particular the economically and socially more fragile areas such as the Alpine and Apennine ones;
  • bring digitalization to the sector with more advanced and technological machines in the woods and in the sawmill;
  • promote the use of wood as a sustainable, renewable material and a central element in combating climate change thanks to its ability to store carbon dioxide.

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