What are industrial plantations?
The volume of global timber consumption has been rising annually, reaching 3,400 million cubic meters in 1998. At 55%, fuel wood accounts for the majority of timber consumption, which is still rising in developing countries. On the other hand, the volume of industrial consumption of sawn timber and wood chips for paper-making has dropped slightly in developed countries from its peak in 1990, while its consumption is growing in the developing countries.
Plantation projects with the purpose of procuring industrial materials are known as industrial plantations. They are called "Forest Plantations" or "Tree Farms" because of their large scale operations for a short cycle. In the pulp and paper industry, their purposes are to secure a stable supply of wood chips with high quality.
In order to cope with growing cultural and industrial demand for paper, the Japanese pulp and paper industry has long been active in afforestation as well as in recycling waste paper. Its afforestation efforts are not only restricted to Japan, but have also extended overseas since the 1970s.
The hardwood trees appreciated in plantations overseas are the fast-growing Eucalyptus and Acacia species, and such pine trees as Pinus radiata among softwoods. Producing large volumes of fiber suitable for paper-making, these fast-growing trees allow efficient and stable paper production.
Based on large-scale and long-term planning, plantations reap specified, annual harvests by cultivating the arboreal species that suit their objectives. Such planning also enforces and controls the planting, nurturing and harvesting of trees. By reforesting after harvests and operating forests according to the principles sustainable forestry management, plantations achieve highly productive forestry; and as a result, allow valuable natural forests to remain protected.
©Japan Overseas Plantation Center for Pulpwood