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Commodity report - Hardwoods

North America
Latin America

The multiplicity of uses and requirements for hardwoods do not lend themselves to easy classification; the trade tends to be highly specialized; and comparable international statistics are difficult to assemble.

For industrial use, hardwoods are far less favored as general utility timbers than softwoods, even in countries where softwoods have to be imported. In rural areas, especially in tropical countries, hardwoods commonly make up the bulk of domestic consumption.

Since time immemorial, hardwood timber has been used for a variety of purposes ranging from housing construction and ship-building to furniture manufacture and artistic carvings. In modern times, hardwoods have proved a valuable raw material for such products as railway sleepers, pitprops, telegraph and telephone poles; the bodies of certain types of railway cars and automobiles, etc.; as well as for more processed wood products, such as plywood and laminboard, and, lately, wood pulp.

Traditionally, the number of hardwood species current in trade has been relatively small, although considerably greater than that of softwoods. In recent years, particularly during the period of general timber shortage, increasing attention has been given to hardwood species which had been more or less unknown or regarded as lower quality timber.

The trend is towards increased rational utilization of wood, and the postwar import figures show a big reduction in shipments of logs for conversion to sawn timber or lumber. Logs continue to be shipped for veneer and plywood industries, but in general exports tend increasingly to consist of sawn timber of standardized dimensions and qualities. The reduction of consumption seems to have mainly affected the medium and lower grades of hardwoods; the demand for higher qualities and larger dimensions continues.

The main feature of the present situation seems to be a decrease in use of solid timber in the building and furniture industries. Requirements for railroads and shipbuilding generally remain firm. There is increasing emphasis on the manufacture and use of veneers and plywoods, including moisture-resistant plywood, laminated wood, and modified wood, as well as on prefabrication, standardization, and the establishment of structural grades for use in design and for inclusion in building codes.

Through improved seasoning practices, including kiln drying, and the use of preservatives secondary and nondurable hardwoods may replace softwoods in some uses. Many more tropical timbers could gain wide markets, if there were more knowledge as to how they can be worked, by the provision of quality and delivery guarantees, by the reduction of freight rates and export and import duties, by the setting up of better systems for grading logs according to recognizable characteristics, and if costs were reduced by such measures as the introduction of mechanization. A great hope in the hardwoods field seems to lie in new pulping processes for transforming low-quality woods and wood waste or residues into many kinds of pulp and paper. Important progress has been achieved in this respect during the last decade in many countries in both the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres.

In Europe and North America, the export trade in hardwoods is only 2 to 5 percent of output; relatively few species are involved (principally oak, beech, ash, poplar, birch, walnut, and maple), but there is a wide variety of qualities owing to local growing conditions. It is the tropical regions of Africa, Latin America, and Asia on which the industrialized countries of the world mainly depend for their import supplies of specialty woods, and in these areas hardwood exports may be as high as 30 percent of output. Mahoganies from Africa (Khaya spp.) or the Americas (Swietenia spp.), okoumé (Aucoumea klaineana) and limba (Terminalia superba) from West Africa, teak (Tectona grandis) from Burma, Thailand, and Indonesia, dipterocarps from the Philippines and Malaya, green-heart (Ocotea rodioei) and cedar (Cedrela spp.) from Central and South America, balsa (Ochroma grandiflora) from Ecuador, rosewood (Dalbergia spp.) from Brazil, are a random sampling of the types of timber traded internationally.

International trade in hardwoods is considerably below prewar levels. It is likely to increase in the near future, but not to any great extent, as the volume of supplies at hand is not expected to augment very rapidly.

The European demand, only partly met by supplies from within the continent, is expected to continue to be filled by larger quantities of exotic hardwoods. It is improbable that hardwood imports from North America will increase very much in 1951.

North American imports of specialty hardwoods are likely to continue, although perhaps at somewhat lower levels if the recent trend towards building restrictions continues.

Under present conditions, if the world demand for hardwoods remains relatively unchanged, it appears that the position of the hardwood exporting countries of Latin America will be strengthened.

The role of African hardwoods in international trade has become and more important after the recessions of the war period. It is expected that this trend, aided by methodical improvement of exploitation, utilization, and grading, will continue in 1951. Exports of African hardwoods have proved a valuable source of dollar earnings, too.

In the Far East, political unrest in some hardwood exporting countries has partly upset plans to increase production and exports. If conditions in that region should become more peaceful, considerable increases in hardwood exports could be anticipated in 1951 and 1952, as most of the importers are very active in building up inventories.

In 1949, the trade picture shows a slight decrease in imports of sawlogs and veneer logs into Europe and a sizable decrease in the United States import and export trade in hardwoods, as compared with the preceding, year. Total exports of hardwoods from Canada and certain South American countries also declined. As there is no official information available for a great number of important exporters in Africa and Asia, no definite conclusions can yet be drawn as to the volume of world trade in 1949.


Since 1937, the European hardwood trade has undergone changes similar to those in the softwood market, though perhaps more fundamental. There has been a marked reduction in consumption of sawn lumber, particularly of lower grade material, and increasing consumption of hardwood by the plywood and veneer industries and by manufacturers of laminated structures and modified wood.


Prior to World War II Eastern and Central European countries, particularly Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Romania, were the main hardwood exporters. In Western Europe, only France was of importance as a hardwood supplier. Finland and Sweden provide considerable amounts of birch.

The supplies from Central and Eastern Europe appear to have been obtained by overcutting the forests.

Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Poland have not been as important exporters of hardwoods to Western Europe since the war: production capacity is less; areas in Czechoslovakia and Poland containing important hardwood forests have been ceded to the U.S.S.R.; domestic demand in these three countries has considerably increased; and there is a decided trend to export finished products rather than rough timber, either round or sawn.

Romania may serve as an example of the changed situation. Production of roundwood which amounted to 1,250,000 m³® prewar was supposed to reach only 363,000 m³® according to the 1948 program, while output of sawn wood was planned at 160,000 m³(s) for 1948.

In Yugoslavia the forest potential also suffered greatly from overcutting. However, Yugoslavia, next to France, will probably remain the most important European exporter of sawn hardwood.

In France, the 1949 production of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs is estimated at a total of 3,300,000 m³ ® solid volume under bark. Prior to the war, France regularly exported hardwood logs to Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, and this trade has continued. At the same time, the French hardwood market absorbs more and more timber from France's overseas territories.

Over-all hardwood production in Europe is not likely to increase to any important extent during the next few years. This assumption particularly applies to the production of large diameter logs of prime quality for plywood and veneer manufacture. It will take 10 to 20 years before the extensive poplar plantations, which have been greatly increased during the past years, will be able to contribute substantially to the European hardwood supply.

The European hardwood market will therefore be increasingly dependent on imports from overseas for timber in dimensions not available or only partly available in Europe, and especially for veneer and plywood qualities. Tropical forests are the natural sources of supply for many of these requirements.


Total hardwood exports (sawn wood, and roundwood converted to sawn)* of the main European exporting countries amounted to about 1 250.000 m³ in 1937. They dropped to 550.000 m³ in 1948 (including Bizone Germany) and rose to only 700,000 m³ in 1949.

* Roundwood units have been converted to sawn wood equivalents on the basis of 1 cubic meter of roundwood (m³®) = 0.600 cubic meter of sawn wood (m³(s)).

More striking even than the reduction of total European hardwood exports is the reduction of hardwood exports from Central and Eastern European countries, particularly from Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Romania. While these countries exported roughly 680,000 m³ (sawn wood equivalents) in 1937, their exports dropped to about 43,000 m³ in 1949, or to roughly 7 percent of prewar exports. The main reasons for this severe reduction of exports have already been mentioned.

Yugoslavia, which in 1937 was the largest European hardwood exporter, exported almost an equivalent of its prewar volume during 1949. It is interesting to nonte that in 1949 Yugoslavia exported 362,000 m³ ® of hardwood pulpwood to Italy.

Another source of supply which is of certain importance to the postwar Western European market is France; in 1948 Germany was also an important supplier. Hardwood exports from these two countries in 1949 represented a slight increase over 1937 exports.

The Northern European countries which export exclusively birch logs and birch sawn wood for special purposes are a third European source of supply. Exports from these countries have fallen to roughly one-half of prewar volume.

Generally speaking it appears unlikely that total European hardwood exports can be increased in the near future.


Total imports (sawn wood plus sawn wood equivalent of logs) have fallen from 2,700,000 m³ in 1937 to about 1,600,000 m³ in 1948 and roughly 1,800,000 m³ in 1949.

Postwar imports into Germany show the greatest reduction. While Germany imported about 470,000 m³ in 1937, its imports in 1949 amounted to no more than 35,000 m³ (sawn wood equivalents). It is expected that Germany will again become an importer of hardwoods on a large scale.

A severe reduction of imports also occurred in the United Kingdom which imported 1,500,000 m³ in 1937 and only 870,000 m³ (sawn wood equivalents) in 1949. During the first half year of 1950, imports to the United Kingdom showed a considerable increase as compared to 1949.

Trade in hardwoods

Only Italy showed larger imports of hardwood during 1949 than in 1937.

It is interesting to compare import developments of hardwood logs and sawn hardwood in Europe. During 1949 imports of sawlogs amounted to 1,500,000 m³® approximately the prewar imports average, while imports of sawn hardwood were only 950,000 m³(s) or about 50 percent of the 1937 level of close to 2,000,000 m³(s)

Imports from European sources have declined from prewar levels; imports from other areas, however, show substantial increases in some European countries

The hardwood market has been affected by currency problems. While imports from Yugoslavia, France, and the Northern European countries have been covered by clearing or barter agreements, and exotic timbers have been imported mainly from French, Belgian, and United Kingdom territories, imports from the dollar area have been diminishing.

The fact that the European hardwood market appeared to be relaxed in spite of greatly reduced total imports and an abundance of lesser quality woods seems to indicate that consumption has been able to adjust itself to the new supply situation by falling back on substitutes.


Developments on the European hardwood market have been characterized by large price increases. Comparison of 1937 and postwar prices is made difficult by the fact that sorting underwent some changes during that period. The following figures, therefore, can only be interpreted as average.

Hardwood prices: 1949 compared with 1937

Sawn timber


(Index: 1937 = 100)

Oak I quality



Oak II quality



Beech I quality



Beech II quality




Nigeria. Before the war, Nigeria exported only "luxury woods" and principally mahogany (Khaya spp.). Of late years, however, there has been a good market for other species also. In 1949, there is reported to have been a considerable increase in Nigerian timber exports, the United Kingdom being the principal market. This increase was partially attributable to a dock strike in the Gold Coast which curtailed additional supplies from that source. Also, a new voluntary timber inspection scheme has increased the confidence of importers in the quality of Nigerian timber.

Gold Coast. Until recently, timber production in the Gold Coast has been dominated by mahogany' but here too there is a marked swing to other species, and total output has been increasing. Production of sawn wood was 31,000 m³(s) in 1948 and 77,000 m³ in 1949. Exports of logs from the Gold Coast reached a new record of 177,000 m³® in 1948, mahogany constituting nearly 63 percent of the total. Sawn wood exports in that year totaled 24,000 m³(s) and rose to 39,000 m³(s) the following year. The main customers for timber from the Gold Coast are the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Belgian Congo. Timber output in the Belgian Congo in 1947 included 350,000 m³® of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs. During the same year production of sawn wood totaled 225,000 m³(s) of which some 200,000 m³(s) were consumed in the country. Later figures on production are not available.

Exports from the Belgian Congo appear to be diminishing. Sawn wood exports were 37,000 m³(s) in 1947 and 22,000 m³(s) in 1948. In the same period, total timber exports dropped from around 100,000 tons to about 78,000 tons. This trend continued during the first quarter of 1949.

French Africa. In prewar years the French African territories were important centers for the production and export of hardwood timber. The main sources of supply, Gabon, Middle Congo, Ivory Coast, and the mandated territory of French Cameroons, exported an aggregate quantity of roughly 450,000 tons a year. Demand began to weaken before the outbreak of war; subsequently, shipping difficulties and problems of finding manpower kept trade at a low level. By 1948 exports were running at about one-half of the 1937 figure: 73,000 tons from the Ivory Coast, about 60,000 tons from French Cameroons, and about 200,000 tons from French Equatorial Africa (Gabon and Middle Congo). About 57 percent of the aggregate exports went to France, about 41 percent to foreign countries, and the balance to French dependencies.

In 1949, exports from French Equatorial Africa, consisting mainly of okoumé (Aucoumea klaineana) logs, totaled 326,000 m³® of which about 44 percent went to France, some 25 percent to the United Kingdom, and 9 percent to Germany. Exports from French West Africa were estimated at 225,000 tons, including 150,000 tons of logs. Acajou (Khaya ivorensis and anthotheca) made up 60 percent of sawn wood exports. There were signs of mounting obstacles in marketing tropical timbers overseas, because of high prices and payment difficulties. However, demand for okoumé timber continued strong irrespective of prices, okoumé is becoming increasingly scarce in the more accessible forest areas, and it is doubtful whether output can be kept at the best prewar levels of 300,000 to 400,000 tons per year. As the big plywood and veneer plants already existing or under construction in French Equatorial Africa and on the Iyory Coast will require a considerable quantity of logs, exports of okoumé for European industries are likely to become difficult, and some substitutes such as limba (Terminalia superba) and kombo (Pycnanthus kombo) may be introduced. Estimates of exports in 1950 and in 1951 are as follows:

Logs and rough timber

Sawn wood

Veneer and plywood

(1,000 m.t.)

(1,000 m³)

(1,000 m³)

Ivory Coast




French Cameroons




Gabon and Middle Congo




The main portion of these exports would be absorbed by France, North Africa, and the deficit regions of West Africa.

Portuguese territories in West and East Africa ship some hardwoods to Europe and to the Union of South Africa. Southern Rhodesia is on balance an importer of logs and sawn wood. Important trade developments are looked for in some of the non-self-governing territories of East Africa.

North America

Canada.* Output of hardwoods in Canada represents only 10 percent or less of the total output of timber. Output of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs was 3.6 million m³® in 1947 2 million m³® in 1948, and an estimated 3.2 million m³ ® in 1949. Production of sawn hardwood declined from 1,827,000 m³(s) in 1947 to 1,387,000 m³(s) in 1948, and further to 1,341,000 m³(s) in 1949. Preliminary reports indicate that output of hardwood lumber and railway sleepers during the first half of 1950 was about 20 percent below the corresponding figure in 1949.

* Excludes Newfoundland prior to 1949,

Canada's exports of sawn hardwood amount to less than one-tenth of the total lumber exports, and consist mainly of birch and maple which may account for three-quarters of all sawn hardwood exports. These exports (including hardwood flooring) have also been declining during the past three years: they dropped from 562,000 m³ (s) in 1947 to 472,000 m³(s) in 1948 and to 260.000 m³(s) in 1949. The main part of these shipments has gone to the United States, only minor quantities being absorbed by other markets. Exports to the United Kingdom have declined sharply.

United States of America. In the United States the hardwood species of major importance are relatively fey, - oak, red gum poplar, maple, tupelo, and birch, and some other utility species which are exploited to a less degree - but the hardwood industry is the largest in the world. Total fellings of hardwoods for all purposes in 1949 were estimated at almost 89 million m³® which represented nearly 33 percent of total timber fellings.

During the years 1945-49 output of hardwood lumber averaged 17.5 million m³(s) per year, or about 22 percent of total lumber production. Over the past three decades, the production of hardwood lumber has in general followed that of softwood lumber; the ups and downs have been much less marked, however, and on some occasions the trend has been slightly different. The highest point in postwar production was reached in 1946 when output was 20.3 million m³(s) the figure dropped considerably in 1947, increased somewhat in 1948 when it was estimated at 18.3 million m³(s) but, as in the case of softwood lumber production, declined again in 1949 to an estimated 14 million m³(s)

The increased construction activity during the second half of 1949 resulted in a strong demand for lumber which continued through the first half of 1950. This was reflected in hardwood lumber output, which began to rise slowly. During the first half of 1950, hardwood lumber production was more than 20 percent above the corresponding figure for the first half of 1949. At the same time, total mill stocks decreased to a level almost 11 percent below that of a year earlier. Consumption of hardwood lumber during the first half of 1950 was estimated at almost 19 percent more than in the second half of 1949, and over 46 percent more than in the first half of 1949. Stimulated by demand and strengthened prices, the upward trend in production was continuing into the latter half of 1950.

An important use for hardwoods in the United States is flooring, which naturally follows the development in construction activity. In 1948, oak flooring (including about 4 to 5 percent of other species) reached a high production level of almost 780.000 m³(s) and maple flooring (including 3 to 5 percent of species other than maple) attained 177,000 m³(s) Total production of flooring during this year was about 2,100.000 m³ Production of oak flooring for 1949 was 1,860,000 m³(s) and that of maple flooring 127,000 m³(s) During the first half of 1950, production both of oak and maple flooring showed a strong trend. By mid-year, the demand continued strong. There was a somewhat similar development in demand and production for hardwood millwork.

Activity in the furniture, television, and other industries has also greatly increased demand for hardwood plywood, the production of which represents about one-third of the United States total plywood output. In addition, the furniture industry, keeping pace with the construction of new homes, has maintained a high level of demand for hardwood timber.

United States exports and imports of hardwoods, although not as significant in volume and value as softwoods, are of importance to a segment of the trade. Export shipments of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs in 1949 were 121,000 m³® as compared with 140,000 m³ ® in 1948. The greater part of the United States exports went to Canada; small quantities were shipped to Latin-American destinations; and exports to Europe increased slightly. United States imports of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs, which are greater than exports, were only 254,000 m³® compared with 462,000 m³® in 1948. These imports originate mainly in Latin-American and African countries, although considerable quantities are imported also from Canada and the Philippines. During recent years, the Gold Coast has been the most important individual source of supply, shipping 150,000 m³® of logs in 1948 and 60,000 m³® in 1949.

The major part of United States hardwood lumber exports is accounted for by oak. During the past three years, exports of oak have been declining by about two-thirds. The volume of total hardwood lumber exports dropped from 439,000 m³(s) in 1947 to 187,000 m³(s) in 1949. The decline in the aggregate value was slightly less. These exports are customarily shipped to a great number of countries all over the world, but the principal buyers have been the United Kingdom and Canada. In 1948 the United States shipped 73,000 m³ (s) to the United Kingdom and 55,000 m³(s) to Canada; in 1949, however, exports to the United Kingdom declined to 31,000 m³(s) while those to Canada increased to 101,000 m³(s) Exports to all countries participating in the European Recovery Program declined from 106,000 m³(s) in 1948 to 60,000 m³(s) in 1949, the latter quantity corresponding to only about 10 percent of average prewar annual shipments to those countries.

During the first half of 1950, the volume of exports of hardwood lumber was about 10 percent below the corresponding figure for 1949.

United States imports of hardwood lumber consist mainly of maple, birch, and beech, and mahogany and Philippine hardwoods. The aggregate volume of hardwood lumber imports was 512,000 m³(s) in 1948 but dropped to 325,000 m³(s) in 1949. The principal source of supply has been Canada, which accounted for about 69 percent in 1949. Mexico, the Philippine Republic, certain Central and South American countries and the Gold Coast have also delivered considerable quantities. During the first half of 1950, these imports were almost 84 percent above the corresponding figure for 1949.

Latin America

Mexico is a hardwood producing and importing country, but it also exports some timber. The latest information available indicates that production of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs, which was about 110,000 m³® in 1947, had dropped to 56,000 m³® in 1948. No data on lumber production is available. During 1947, exports of hardwood lumber amounted to 22,000 m³(s) Imports of hardwood lumber into Mexico from the United States are reported to have reached 7,000 m³(s) in 1948 and in 1949.

Cuba. Domestic production of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs in Cuba for 1949 is reported to have been 73,000 m³® as compared to 163,000 m³® in 1948. At the same time, production of hardwood lumber decreased from 85,000 to 38,000 m³(s) Imports of United States hardwood lumber alone were 15,000 m³(s) in 1948, and certain quantities of mahogany and cedar were imported from Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Colombia. Exports have been declining.

Dominican Republic. This country has been exporting minor quantities of hardwood lumber, mainly mahogany, but because of restrictions imposed on fine hardwoods, the shipments have been dwindling.

Costa Rica is practically self-supporting in supplies of hardwood lumber. Small quantities of mahogany (Swietenia spp.) are usually imported from Nicaragua as a result of local border trade. At times, exports of sawlogs and veneer logs from Costa Rica reach considerable quantities. The United States is reported to have imported 44,000 m³® of Costa Rican logs in 1948 and 19,000 m³® in 1949.

Ecuador. With its ample resources of hardwoods, Ecuador is also independent of imported hardwood timber, and could be regarded as a potential exporter. Production of balsa has been increasing during the past years, as new uses for this timber in construction and industry have been developed. Exports, particularly of the heavier type of balsa, have also increased. In 1949, exports of balsa were reported to have reached 1,560 tons, as compared with 1,120 tons in 1948. The United States has been purchasing over 80 percent of these exports.

El Salvador. As a result of extensive deforestation, pursued during half a century, El Salvador has become very poor in hardwoods. Because there is little industrial use, requirements for purposes other than construction are relatively small. However, some quantities of hardwoods, mainly mahogany, are imported, mostly from Honduras under a free-trade agreement existing between the two countries. These imports have been negligible, but they are likely to increase in the near future.

Honduras. The output of hardwood timber is sufficient to cover domestic needs and also to provide minor quantities for export. The United States is reported to have imported 5,000 m³® of sawlogs and veneer logs from Honduras in 1949 (12,000 m³ in 1948). Exports of lumber from Honduras were 14,000 m³(s) in 1949 (13,000 m³ in 1948).

Peru. There has been a considerable increase in consumption of hardwoods in Peru in recent years. This has resulted more from increased output of domestic timber than from greater imports. The principal species imported have been white oak from the United States, and oak and mahogany from Nicaragua. It is reported that a large part of the 1949 production of lumber (totaling 55,000 m³) was not sold and sawmills carried over big stocks, but the market appears to have recovered since that time.

British Guiana. The output of timber other than greenheart has been increasing during the past three years, reaching in 1949 a volume of about 85,000 m³®, a 70-percent increase on the figure for 1946. Total production of hardwood sawlogs in 1949 was 126,000 m³® The bulk of this increase has been absorbed by the local market. Lumber production in 1949 is estimated at 47,000 m³(s) Exports in 1949 consisted of 8,000 m³® of roundwood; 6,800 m³® of hewn timber; and 15,000 m³(s) of sawn timber; 61 percent, by value, of the exports went to the United Kingdom, and 24 percent to the British West Indies.

There are comprehensive projects for the expansion of forest exploitation and wood utilization in British Guiana, including construction of a sawmill capable of handling 40,000 to 50,000 tons of logs a year and possible establishment of secondary and subsidiary wood industries.

Surinam. The forest resources have been exploited over a considerable period, and during the first half of the twentieth century exports varied from 600 to 6,000 m³® yearly, shipped mainly to the Netherlands. After World War II, there was a real boom in exports; a maximum of 74,000 m³® of sawlogs was reached in 1947. Then, when a large plywood factory, using babun (Virola surinamensis) as raw material, started operations toward the end of 1948 in the neighborhood of Paramaribo, timber exports declined considerably, and in 1949 only 15,000 m³® of logs were exported and 2,000 m³(s) of sawn wood. The principal markets for Surinam timber exports are the Netherlands, followed by the United Kingdom and the United States. With two modern sawmills, each with an annual capacity of 30,000 m³ and the plywood factory coming into full operation, production and export capacity are expected to increase considerably in 1950. Local consumption is expected to remain at a level of about 15,000 m³(s) of lumber.

Chile. With 93 percent of its natural forest area covered with hardwood species, Chile has been an important producer and exporter of hardwood timber. Output of hardwood lumber dropped from 593,000 m³(s) in 1947/48 to 443,000 m³(s) in 1948/49. At the same time, exports of dumber increased from 55,000 to 82,000 m³(s) Lumber exports from Chile go mainly to other South American countries. Trade is also being built up with the United States.

Brazil. The extensive hardwood forests in Brazil contain some 160 species which are presently marketable. These are suitable or a wide variety o uses in construction and industry. In 1948 production of logs was about 4 million m³® but it declined to 3.8 million m³® in 1949. At the same time, there occurred a slight decrease in hardwood lumber output, from 2,150,000 to 2,100,000 m³(s) In 1948, exports of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs reached a volume of about 110,000 m³ ®. During the subsequent years, these exports, which go mainly to other South American countries, dropped to 76,000 m³® Exports of hardwood lumber were 48,000 m³(s) in 1948. The biggest importers were the Union of South Africa (22,000 m³) and the United Kingdom (14,000 m³) minor quantities went to the United States, the Netherlands, and Argentina, as well as to some other European and Latin-American countries. In 1949, the volume of lumber exports was only 31,000 m³(s)

Argentina, a timber importing country of consequence, is a traditional market for United States and Brazilian hardwood lumber. During the past years, however, currency shortage has had its effect on these purchases. Hardwood lumber exports from the United States to Argentina dropped from 11,000 m³ (s) in 1,947 to 2,000 m³(s) in 1948 and were almost zero in 1949. Imports from other sources have also been very small during the last year. Imports of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs from Brazil into Argentina showed a drop from 74,000 m³® in 1948 to 46,000 m³® in 1949.


The war in Korea is having effects on the supply position of hardwoods in the Far East. Prices remain firm and may rise.

Iran. Output of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs for 1949 was 60.000 m³® Minor quantities of timber are consumed in the manufacture of sleepers and by match, box, and furniture industries; a small proportion is exported.

India and Pakistan. No detailed figures are available on production of hardwood timber in these countries. Imports of hardwood lumber into India were 89,000 m³(s) in 1948/49, but dropped to 49,000 m³(s) during the following fiscal year.

Ceylon. Output of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs increased from 59,000 m³® in 1948 to 90,000 m³® in 1949. At the same time, hardwood lumber production was more than doubled. Minor quantities of sleepers and poles, piling, and posts were produced.

Burma. The political situation has seriously affected supplies and prices. Output of hardwoods, mainly teak, is at a low level. Exports of hardwood lumber still lag far behind the prewar figures; they dropped from 154,000 m³(s) in 1948/49 to 116,000 m³(s) during the following year. It is not expected that the 1950 production will be very much larger than that of the previous year.

Thailand. In Thailand, which is another teak producing country output of sawlogs increased from 780,000 m³® in 1948 to more than 1.3 million m³® in 1949. Lumber exports in 1948 were 91,000 m³(s) as compared with 61,000 m³(s) in 1947. There has been a ban on export of yang (Dipterocarpus spp.) with the idea of forcing domestic prices down since this wood is widely used in construction. The timber used to be one of the biggest earners of foreign exchange. In 1950, Pakistan, being cut off from traditional sources of supply as a result of the Kashmir dispute and the civil war in Burma, made a contract for 4,000 tons of Thai teak.

Thai targets for the years 1950-52 provide for an increase in the production of hardwood logs from 150,000 to 250,000 m³® During the same period, output of hardwood lumber is scheduled to reach 325,000 m³(s) out of which some 200,000 m³(s) will be for exports.

Malaya. Timber output in Malaya has shown a steady increase during recent years, despite the disturbed internal situation. This is mainly due to a rise in production of roundwood, which has offset a slight decline in sawn timber production. Output of sawlogs and veneer logs increased from 700,000 m³® in 1948 to 800,000 m³® in 1949. On the other hand, output of sawn timber reportedly dropped from 85,000 m³(s) in 1948 to 73,000 m³(s) in 1949.

Exports of Malayan timbers, about 70 percent dipterocarps and 30 percent other types of hardwood, have increased very significantly. From 16,000 tons in 1947, exports went up to 36,000 tons in 1948 and 69,000 tons in 1949. The strengthened demand for Malayan timber on export markets is attributed to quality control. The main importing countries for Malayan timber are the United Kingdom, Arabia, Hong Kong, the Union of South Africa, Australia, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan.

Indochina. The sawmill industry in Indochina, which also is reasonably rich in forest wealth, has been badly disrupted by the unsettled political conditions. The production of sawlogs and veneer logs increased from 213,000 m³® in 1947 to 264,000 m³® in 1948, but it is reported to have dropped to 248,000 m³® in 1949. The present production from the relatively undisturbed areas is little over one-fourth of the prewar level. It is thought that production could reach 1.5 million m³® in the next ten years, affording a good margin for exports.

Indonesia. Unsettled conditions have prevented the planned expansion of hardwood production. This is especially true in South and West Borneo where several private companies have been engaged in obtaining new equipment for logging and for sawmills. Indonesia is an important source of teak and other hardwoods of high commercial value. Output of hardwood lumber, including sleepers, increased from 300,000 m³(s) in 1948 to 350,000 m³(s) in 1949.

Philippines. Although much damage was suffered by the timber industry in the Philippines during the war, more than 400 sawmills were in operation in 1949. Hardwood lumber production for 1948 was about 925,000 m³(s) The Philippine sawmill industry continued to expand during the first months of 1950, and the production of hardwood lumber is planned to increase considerably during the years 1950-52.

For some time after the war, export of logs and sawn lumber was prohibited by the government in order to facilitate reconstruction activity, but bans on exports were removed entirely in June 1949. The only restriction imposed is the grading of export log and lumber shipments by an authorized inspector.

Exports of hardwood lumber in 1948 were 34,000 m³(s) and exports of sawlogs and veneer logs reached 70,000 m³® According to reports, total exports of logs and lumber were increased by almost 60 percent in 1949. Philippine exports are going mainly to the United States where, as well as in Canada, the species known to the trade as Philippine mahogany are widely used. Japan is regarded as an eventual importer of Philippine timber.

North Borneo. Demand for both export and local use has keen strong, causing stepped-up production. In 1949 production of sawlogs was 196,000 m³® as compared with 190,000 m³® in 1948. Exports of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs increased from 113,000 m³® in 1948 to 119,000 m³® in 1949. Only minor quantities of lumber have been exported. The principal markets were Hong Kong, Australia, Shanghai, and the United Kingdom. Production in 1950 is expected to increase further.

Sarawak. Hardwood timber exports are expanding. In 1949, the volume was 38,500 tons, or almost double that of 1948. Logging and mill operators from Burma have begun working on new concessions, which should produce an increased volume of hardwood lumber in 1950.

Japan. Production of hardwood lumber was 540,000 m³(s) in 1948 and approximately the same volume in 1949. Considerable quantities of sleepers and pitprops were also produced. Imports of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs, originating mainly in the Philippines and British Borneo have increased, reaching a total of 50,000 m³® in 1949. Minor quantities of hardwood lumber have been exported.


Australia. Of late years the production of hardwood timber in Australia has shown a steady increase. Production of hardwood sawlogs rose from 4,550.000 m³® in 1948 to 4,750,000 m³® in 1949. In 1949 imports of hardwood sawlogs and veneer logs totaled 121,000 m/®, as compared to 88,000 m³® a year earlier.

Considerable quantities of hardwood, not shown in the above figures, are converted into railway sleepers, pitprops and mining timber, pulp, fiberboards, etc. Production of hardwood lumber has increased from about 2,050,000 m³(s) in 1948 to 2,140.000 m³(s) in 1949. Minor quantities, 45,000 and 57,000 m³ (s) respectively, were exported.

According to estimates, production of hardwood lumber in Australia will exceed 2.3 million m³(s) in 1950 and 2.6 million m³(s) in 1951. With the assumption that exports will remain at the present level, imports are estimated to be around 60,000 m³ (s) in 1950 and 70,000 m³(s) in 1951.

New Zealand. Production of indigenous hardwoods is relatively small. In 1948/49, production of hardwood lumber was 66,000 m³(s) and in 1949/50, 68,000 m³(s) Requirements of durable hardwoods for transmission poles, railway sleepers, harbor works, etc., are to a large extent covered by imports, mainly from Australia. Imports of hardwood lumber have been rising and were 22,000 m³(s) in 1949.

Another category of hardwoods is specialty hardwoods for furniture manufacture. The most important and most popular species is Japanese oak. Average annual imports of specialty hardwoods during the years 1935-39 were 5,900 m³(s) in the postwar years 1945-48, imports have been negligible. It is estimated that during the years 1950-55 some 9,400 m³(s) of these woods will be required annually.

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