Wood economy

The timber industry is the industry that deals with the economic exploitation of the raw material wood. It includes the timber trade, the timber industry and wood crafts. The timber industry gets its raw materials from forestry and a small part of the recycling. For the production and finishing of wooden materials counts for large companies in the wood products industry under the technical and economic aspects of the development of machines and plant systems in the balance sheet. As part of the woodworking process, large quantities of by-products. These are called joint products further processed or used for the production of bio-energy ( cascade use ). More than a third of the land mass of the Earth is covered with forest. The lives of about a quarter of the world's population is directly or indirectly dependent on the forest and its products. Wood as a building material and energy sources in this context takes on an important role. The pressure on the forests and the wood will rise due to population growth. At least since the end of the Cold War, the timber industry has become global. The fluxes are therefore complex, as many countries are importers and exporters at the same time. The cost of transporting timber are relatively low, which is why globally traded it.

  • 2.1 Economic importance
  • 2.2 Sustainable use of wood
  • 2.3 cascade utilization
  • 3.1 raw Materials
  • 3.2 Product Groups
  • 4.2.1 timber transport
  • 4.2.2 sawmill industry
  • 4.2.3 Wood Products Industry
  • 4.2.4 Veneer Industry
  • 4.2.5 pulp and paper industry
  • 4.2.6 carpentry and wood construction
  • 4.2.7 Furniture industry and prefabricated
  • 4.2.8 carpenters and joiners
  • 4.2.9 energy
  • 4.3.1 Vocational Training
  • 4.3.2 studies
  • 4.5.1 Logging
  • 4.5.2 Total volume
  • 4.5.3 Overall use
  • 4.5.4 waste wood
  • 4.5.5 Waste paper advent
  • 4.6.1 forestry
  • 4.6.2 Rohholzverbraucher
  • 4.6.3 Wood Crafts
  • 4.6.4 Trade and service
  • 4.6.5 Other associations

Outline of the timber industry

Timber trade

The collective term timber trade, the economic activity is taken to mean goods which consist predominantly of wood as raw material to obtain, and / or to convey to customers for further processing or final consumers. The transactions are summarized by the term timber market. The central task of the timber trade is to supply the processing craft, wooden materials producing companies and construction companies and DIY enthusiasts with wood and wood products. The price development of the timber is determined primarily by its character as a raw material and the technical developments in the processing and use prices will rise due to the increasing demand for a renewable material and globally in the medium to long term. Globally, ask the following categories, the main types of products for trade shows: Raw wood, lumber, scrap wood, plate trade, pulp and paper.

Wood in the rough

Since 1985, the international wood in the rough has increased by more than 40 %. The softwood share is over 50% of total roundwood exports. The largest exporter of softwood is Russia with a share of over one-third. The largest importers of softwood are Japan and China, both of which have little available timber reserves. Tropical wood is quantitatively exported most of Malaysia, Gabon, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Myanmar. The main importer countries are again China and Japan and India.

Average merchandise trade

Between 1985 and 2000, the average global merchandise trade has increased by 40 %. Here come 90 % of timber exports from North America and Europe. Among the main importer countries include the U.S., which relates 40 % of their needs from Canada. The rest of the lumber trade takes place primarily in Europe from, but also in Asia is increasingly becoming a major import market.


Trade with pressed wooden plates has experienced in the 90s with the MDF board an upswing. Germany and China are the main exporters of fiberboard. Particleboard are mainly exported from Canada and Germany. Large growth rates has Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia and China) on the production of plywood. The United States is the largest importer of wood material.

Cellulose and wood pulp trade

World trade grew by 75 % between 1985 and 2000. Major exporter are Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Brazil. The main importing countries are the U.S., Japan and Germany.

Wood industry

The term timber industry describes all companies that deal with the handling and processing, or the processing and utilization of wood raw material. Among the industrial sectors of the wood industry include the sawmill industry, the wood products industry, veneer industry and the pulp and paper industry. The products manufactured and semi- manufactured goods in the individual sectors are in turn used in other industries.

Wood crafts

In the timber numerous career fields are represented. In addition to traditional training as a carpenter / joiner, carpenter or handicraft occupations such as Drechsler or toy makers and niche crafts include as boat builder or cooper many generally sought in industry professions. The wooden craft has everywhere tradition where wood is available as a local resource.

Importance of the timber industry

Economic Importance

The contribution of the timber industry to the economy of a country is usually expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product. The higher the percentage, the greater the economic importance. A large proportion of forest does not necessarily mean that the timber industry economically plays an important role, as it depends on other economic sectors of the country. Thus, globally, the contribution of the timber industry in GDP declined, as other sectors of the economy have grown faster. The value increases with increasing depth of processing. If only produced roundwood in one country and operate no further processing, the entire value potential can not be exploited.

Sustainable use of wood

The concept of sustainability is a first-time use in the German language in written Silvicultura oeconomica which was written in 1713 by Hans Carl von Carlowitz. In the forestry sense, sustainability means a long-term scale the responsible use of resources, or that no more wood must be cut down, as each can grow. The World Commission on Environment and Development defined in the 1987 Brundtland Report, the concept of sustainability as an approach that allows all living humans to meet their needs without jeopardizing the prospects of future generations.

In relation to the use of wood Sustainability means that the supply of wood raw material by a long-planned management of forests should be ensured and the exploitation of the raw material is planned so that the raw material is also future generations. To minimize the effects of climate change wood as a building material takes on an important role. Sustainably managed forests used, in which as much wood is removed, as can grow, are natural CO2 storage, since the tree to the atmosphere confiscated carbon intercalates in the wood. The raw material wood is therefore making for long-term use, especially by a cascade use, contributing to carbon fixation.

The global objective of sustainable wood use is particularly endangered by different human activities in the rain and jungles. Among the reasons for the vulnerability of tropical rainforests, includes not only the legal and illegal logging, the deforestation with forest fires set for agricultural purposes. About 56 % of the total raw timber to be seen worldwide used as firewood, resulting mainly in emerging and developing countries to an overuse or destruction of forest areas. In some developing countries even up to 80 % of the timber income to be used as firewood. Especially in emerging and developing countries no sustainable wood use is therefore often operated. Reasons for this are poor political and economic conditions, lack of knowledge, corruption, the rising world population ] ] and poverty.

Measures to preserve the rain forests and the establishment and maintenance of protected areas, which are often compromised by the political and economic instability, sustainable forest management and the introduction of certificates and labels for sustainable forest management. Among the most important certificates and labels include the following organizations:

American Forest Foundation, a national non-profit organization.

The SFI program certified only member states in the United States and Canada. The program participants must comply with all applicable laws.

Cascade utilization

The term Kaskadennutzug the multiple use of a raw material in several stages is understood across. Wood should, if possible, be used materially in a first step. This has the distinct advantage that the CO2 saving is doubly effective: Due to the use of wood products, CO2 emissions are avoided from raw materials. In addition, can be prevented from fossil fuels by a secondary use of waste and waste wood as an additional energy source emissions.

Raw materials and products of the timber industry

Raw materials

The starting materials of the timber industry can be divided into the following categories:

Product Groups

The products of the timber industry are diverse. They range from building materials for interior and exterior for wood house, across a wide range of commodities for furniture, musical instruments on the way to a raw material for paper, cardboard, the chemical industry and for firewood. A possibility of distinguishing the products is the material and energy use.

Material use

  • Semi-finished goods
  • Finished goods
  • HWST
  • Paper, cardboard
  • Cellulose
  • Furniture
  • Timber
  • Sound wood
  • Veneers

Energy Use

  • Pellets
  • Logs
  • Briquette
  • Bioenergy

Timber industry in Germany

Most of the timber industry in Germany is due mainly medium and craftsmanship. These are mostly family businesses that are located in rural regions, including sawmills, timber trade, furniture, - packaging and construction industries are finished. There are few companies that have a large industrial structure. These large-scale industries mainly produce in the field of wood-based materials and the pulp and paper industry.

Timber trade

The range of the timber trade is diverse. These include sawn timber, planed timber or wood -based panels and components such as ceiling and wall panels or doors. There is also the specialization of trade on raw wood and veneers, which supplies the sawmills, wood products industry or paper industry. The timber trade had a turnover of almost 13 million euros in 2008.

The export surplus for values ​​of the total German foreign trade of timber is due mainly by the balance of goods superset of the finished goods, as shown in the graphic. The net export amounted in 2012 to around 5 million euros. The positive trade balance is mainly due to the product group paper goods and printed matter.

Wood industry

Wood is next to the oldest stone material material known to mankind. In the Middle Ages and the early modern period in Germany originated many smaller timber companies. Since the beginning of the use of steam and electricity in the 19th century, one can speak in Germany from a timber industry. At the same time traditional small-scale craft structures were preserved. Due to the strong natural forest cover can be found throughout Germany enterprises of the timber industry. Traditionally located in the vicinity of a large forest areas, many companies have a small to medium size and are often family owned.

Timber transport

Until the mid-20th century, the rafting was a common means to transport bulky logs over longer distances. With the advent of the railroad took over this increases the round timber transports. The current share of roundwood transport by rail is approximately 9%. Today is performed because of the flexible use option a vast majority (around 90%) of the larger timber transportation using trucks. Of these, the forest embarked, stacked up in piles and sold round timber for further use is traced. Transport by ship plays only a marginal role with about 1%.

Sawmill industry

The processing of the defeated in the forest wood is mostly first sawmill in the place where the raw wood is processed into lumber. The German sawmill industry is by far the largest Rohholzabnehmer in Germany and thus the most important link between forestry and timber industry. More than 37 million cubic meters of wood were cut in 2012 in the local sawmills and further processing.

The sawmill industry is distributed very differently in Germany. While just in the wooded southern Germany, there are many smaller sawmills, have settled in northern and eastern Germany middling to very large saw businesses. While small works tend to process regional timber, worth it for the big sawmills shopping over greater distances or import from abroad.

Nearly three -quarters of the German sawmills are coniferous plants. That is, there are cut proportionately more than 90 percent softwoods. Only about nine percent of the sawmills, however, are reported Hardwood farms with comparable concentration. In 17 percent of the sawmills are mixed farms. There, the two wood species groups are cut.

Wood Products Industry

The wood products industry has around 15 000 employees and has an annual turnover of around 5.6 billion euros. In Germany about 20 million cubic meters of wood for the production of wood-based materials are required per year.

Veneer Industry

Only precious woods of good quality can be made ​​into veneer. Dominate the hardwood beech and oak, each with approximately 30 % market share. Woods such as birch, cherry, ash and softwoods are in the range of five to seven percent. Maple has a market share of ten percent.

Pulp and paper industry

Germany, with a turnover of over 15 million euros and 40 000 employees of the largest paper producer in Europe. In a global comparison, the German paper industry ranks fourth. More than ten million cubic meters annually for the production of paper, board and cardboard in Germany weak forest woods and Sägerohstoffe needed. The annual production is about 23 million tons. Are produced around 3,000 different types of paper.

Carpentry and wood construction

The German carpentry and wood construction continued in 2013 to around 6.3 billion euros. The number of employees is steadily increasing because of continued growth in construction activity in the area of ​​new construction and renovation. Have a good 80 % of the farms between one to nine employees. Only a very small share of 3 per cent has more than 20 employees. The future development of the German carpentry is very remain pending, as the timber is developing. The largest share of sales with 49% in existing buildings. Throughout the housing development continues to grow.

Furniture industry and prefabricated

In Germany in 2013 furniture was produced in value of around 16.2 million euros a year, which means a production decrease of 3 % over the previous year. The decline is observed in nearly all areas. The export share of the furniture industry is around 35 percent. The most important part of the industry sectors are office and shop furniture, kitchens and seating.

Carpenters and joiners

The focus of the industry lies in the interior design and furniture construction. In more than 42000 companies almost 185 000 people are employed. They have a turnover of more than 17 billion euros annually.


In the discussion on the issue of renewable energy as a renewable resource wood takes on an important role. By far the most important source of bioenergy in Germany is the wood that is used in the form of logs, wood chips or pellets. The domestic consumption of wood raw materials in the energy sector has increased steadily over the past two decades and currently amounts to around 130 million cubic meters per year. The raw materials include wood forest wood, waste wood ( waste wood ), landscaping material, but also industrial waste wood, which is included in the forest wood. A total of around 77 million a year are material and used approximately 53 million cubic meters of energy.

Wood crafts

Vocational training

The wooden craft has a long tradition in Germany by the historical use of wood. In the timber numerous career fields are represented. This includes not only traditional training as a carpenter / joiner, carpenter or (Fine Art) craft appointed as Drechsler or toy makers and niche crafts such as boat builder or cooper many generally sought in industry professions. The training follows i.d.R. the dual system of company and vocational school.

  • (Balance sheet) Accountant
  • Construction leaders
  • Professional drivers
  • Business Administration / in
  • Office clerk / man
  • Chemical laboratory / in
  • Chemist / in
  • Controller
  • Booker / in
  • Electrician / in
  • Energie-/und plant electronics / in
  • Electronic technician / in
  • Precision mechanics / in
  • Forklift driver / in
  • Trade Merchant / woman
  • Woodworking mechanic / in
  • Holztechniker / in
  • Holzwirt / in
  • Hotelfachmann-/frau
  • Industrial Electrician
  • Industrial sales / man
  • Industrial Mechanic / in
  • Computer science businessman / woman
  • Parkettleger / in
  • Paper Technologist / in


Classical studies of the timber industry at colleges and universities are timber industry, wood art, wood construction and expansion. We are looking for but also process engineers, mechanical engineers, chemists, engineers, paper, wood and hosts IT-Ingenieure/Informatiker. At many universities, graduate and advanced degree programs for timber construction, the timber industry or wood technology in the field of civil engineering or manufacturing engineering are offered. Among other things, in Germany at the following institutions:

Economic Importance

In the timber industry, the statistics for the year has 2010 93.451 companies with a turnover of 165.4 billion euros, a value of 50.5 billion euros and 1.04 million total employees. 2011, there were 93 624 companies in the timber industry in Germany. They generated sales of EUR 173.95 billion and employed 1.042 million employees. The deviations for the graph resulting from the time interval and the removal of forest management employees.

Total wood balance Germany

With the total wood balance sheet are the total volume and the total consumption of wood and wood -based products, that is, of all wood-based materials, collected in Germany. The total volume includes the domestic impact, the advent of domestic waste paper and waste wood, import and inventory disposals.


In 2012, approximately 52.3 million cubic meters of wood were broken in Germany. About 75 % of the logging accounted for softwood such as spruce, fir, Douglas fir and larch, and a good 40 percent of the total felling took place in private forests.

Total volume

In the graph, the total wood volume in the time series of the years 1991 to 2012 presented in million m3. The German total revenue has leveled off, with the exception of the years 2007 ( Kyrill ) and 2009 ( peak of the economic crisis ) at a stable level. The impact level of the German forestry is, according to official statistics logging on a regular basis with a share of about 93 % below the level of domestic consumption of raw wood. In 2012, 124.4 million m3 of wood or wood products were imported into Germany, which is a reduction of 4.4 % over the previous year.

Total use

In the graph it can be seen that the total use has steadily increased, which is mainly due to the increase in exports. Domestic consumption is largely constant at 100 million m3 per year.

Waste wood

In 2010, the trading volume was 8.1 million tonnes, of which 9% were used in-house. About one-fifth of the waste wood goes to Altholzaufbereiter and three-quarters is sold directly to the Endverwerter. The distribution of the disposal operations at Endverwerter is mainly to domestic customers. Go from the German disposal system 19% of the waste wood in the chipboard industry and 78 % in energy recovery.

Paper advent

The advent of domestic waste paper accounts for 19% of total revenue and has remained fairly constant each year with 44.5 million m3.

Associations of the timber industry in Germany



Wood crafts

Trade and service

Other associations