Netherlands - Forestry

One of the least forested countries in Europe, the Netherlands produces only about 8% of its wood requirements. Woodland, chiefly pine, covers about 375,000 ha (927,000 acres), or only 11.1% of the total land area, of which state forest areas comprise some 37%; private owners, 31%; provincial and local governments, 14%; and nature conservation organizations, 18%. Productive woodlands total about 230,000 ha (580,000 acres); output of timber was approximately 1,039,000 cu m (36.7 million cu ft) in 2000. The Netherlands imports about 95% of its softwood lumber needs, mostly from Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Domestic sources of temperate hardwood lumber usually meet 40–50% of annual demand; production totaled 131,000 cu m (4.6 million cu ft) in 2001.

Afforestation has not kept pace with increasing consumption. The Dutch government would like to become at least 25% self-sufficient in wood fiber by 2025. In order to meet this goal, some3.9 million cu m (137.7 million cu ft) of fiber would need to be produced annually (assuming current consumption trends). Currently, Dutch wood fiber production is only 1.2 million cu m (42 million cu ft). During 1990–2000, only 1,000 ha (2,500 acres) of forest were planted. The government established a goal in 1994 of increasing forested land by 3,000 ha (7,400 acres) annually until 2020.

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