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2. CURRENT STATUS OF FORESTRY STATISTICS RELATED TO WOOD PRODUCTS.

2.1. Information presently collected

The types of information presently collected in the state-owned forests of Trinidad and Tobago by the Forestry Division are as follows:

Volume of timber felled and extracted by species within ranges. This information can be further subdivided by forest reserves, other state lands and private lands.

Production of sawn wood.

Production of charcoal.

Production of Ryania speciosa.

Production of poles and pickets from teak plantations.

Up to 1999, volume of eight species of timber which are felled and removed on private lands. From 2000, volume on 66 species felled and removed from private lands.

 

2.2. Existing methodologies for data collection

2.2.1. Data on production of timber from state forests

Forest officers make direct field measurements of trees sold through field visits. All logging operations on State land are controlled through the granting of a Conservatorís License, the legal basis for which is provided under the State lands Forest Produce (Amendment) Rules, 1990, under the authority of Section 23 of the Forest Act (Chapter 66:01). These licenses are issued in duplicate with the original in the possession of the licensee and the duplicate remains with the Forestry Division. There are two types of licenses namely a Girth license and a cubical license. The maximum number of trees that can be sold on a Girth License is ten, whilst sale on a Cubical License is limited to 500 hoppus feet.

The issue of a license requires two visits to the forest. During the first visit, selected trees are marked, given a serial number, stamped and sold. On the Girth license, the royalty is calculated as soon as the trees are measured while on the cubical license the royalty is estimated. After payment, the trees are felled. On the second visit the logs are measured accurately in hoppus feet and marked as released once the royalty has been collected. The Forest Officer then issues a Removal Permit after which the logs can be transported from the forest.

A duplicate copy of the removal permit is attached to the duplicate copy of the license. Upon completion of the removal of trees from the forest, the licensee returns the original to the Forestry Division.

From the duplicate removal permit a summary of the yield by species is completed on the duplicate license and transferred to the original. The completed license is forwarded to a regional office for checking and verification.

Data from these duplicate removal permits are used to complete monthly and quarterly reports in hand-written form. The monthly reports provide summary of yield within a range by species and classes (Appendix I) based on the duplicate copies of all trees released. The quarterly reports supply girth and volume data on individual trees by species within a range based on duplicate copies of completed licenses. The volume reported on the quarterly log returns (Appendix II) is usually less than a three-month summary of monthly returns since trees released on completed licenses are less than all trees released per quarter. This data from a given range is separated by forest reserve, other state-owned lands and private lands.

A similar procedure is in place for the collection of data on poles and pickets from teak plantations, for charcoal production and for Ryania harvested. The data for poles and pickets is captured in hoppus feet, while the data from charcoal production is collected by pit size in cords and for Ryania in stacked cords.

2.2.2. Data on production of timber from private land

Private removal permits are issued for the removal of certain species of trees on private lands. Up to 1999, the species of trees requiring private removal permits were limited to eight (8) based on the second schedule of the Forests Act (Chapter 66:01). These species were Teak (Tectona grandis), Cypre (Cordia alliodora), Cedar (Cedrela odorata), Balsam (Copaifera officinalis), Poui (Tabebuia serratifolia), Locust (Hymenea courbaril L.), Balata (Manilkara bidentata) and Ryania (Ryania speciosa). In 1999, the Forests Act was revised and the second schedule of this Act was expanded to 66 species. These species cover the most important ones that are of commercial value and are found on both state and private lands.

Duplicate copies of all private removal permits are kept for preparation of the monthly and quarterly reports for a given range.

2.2.3. Data on production of sawnwood

Data on sawn wood production is collected annually from sawmill returns, which are collected under the authority of the Sawmills Act (Chapter 67:02). At a sawmill, two types of records are kept namely Form A (Appendix III) and Form B (Appendix IV). In Form A, also referred to as the yard book, the sawmiller keeps an inventory of the logs in his log yard. Pertinent information on each load of logs includes a removal permit number, species of logs, owner of logs and dimensions of logs in hoppus feet, date logs came into the compound and date logs were sawn. In Form B, also called the mill book, input is recorded by species in hoppus feet and output of each load of log in board feet of dimensional stock. These daily records from Forms A and B are summarised to produce the annual sawmill returns.

Before a sawmill is licensed for a given year, it must submit completed records for the previous year of operations in a prescribed format (Appendix V). The records submitted are:

Input of round logs, which are subdivided into millersí logs and customersí logs.

Output of sawn lumber.

Mill labour Ė skilled and unskilled.

Percentage of shift worked.

These annual returns are used to determine output of sawnwood annually for Trinidad and Tobago. Although forest officers inspect sawmill records regularly during the year the completed records, which are submitted at the end of the year to the Forestry Division, are not verified against figures in their yard and mill books. In addition, the records on some mill and yard books are mathematically incorrect. For example when logs are stolen, the output is recorded on a log of the same species, which may have already been converted. Inaccuracies are common in the mill book because it is time consuming for a sawmiller to record output in board feet for individual logs. This false reporting results in extremely high or low conversion rates and low input of sawlogs as compared to the output from the forests and private lands.

2.3. Present method of data compilation

Upon receipt of the data from the individual ranges, the Forest Resource Inventory and Management Unit (FRIM) records all submissions to ensure that all ranges are accounted. An assigned officer collates the data by species for individual ranges using hand held calculators. These collated values are then are entered on a spreadsheet programme. The quarterly log returns are compared with the monthly summaries for each range for purposes of verification. The figures usually do not balance due to the incomplete licenses in any given year.

The hand-written submissions from the individual ranges are then stored for future use and possible verification.

The FRIM Unit summarises these collated data and prepares annual reports of yield from the state forests by species for all six (6) conservancies. These reports constitute part of the annual reports of the Forestry Division and copies are made available to the relevant Ministries. Summaries are made available to the Central Statistical Office (CSO), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) in their requested format.

2.3.1. Agencies involved in data collection

The two agencies involved in collection of data on wood products are the Forestry Division and the CSO. The Forestry Division is the primary source of data on timber production. This data is summarised and is available by a range, a Conservancy and on the national level on production of round logs, sawnwood, charcoal, and Ryania. The CSO is also involved in generation of reports related to national production, consumption, imports and exports on all wood related products.

The CSO depends solely on the report generated by the Forestry Division for national production. Import and export data are collated independently by the CSO through data captured on Custom Declaration Forms. The Forestry Division depends upon the CSO for all data relating to imports and exports for the completion of reports to the FAO, ITTO and other agencies.

 

2.4. Wood products produced

2.4.1. Roundlogs

The production of roundlogs in Trinidad during the period 1993 to 1998 is shown in Table 3. This data excludes production of roundlogs from private lands, which does not require a private removal permit. While the total volume of roundlogs harvested from the natural forests has been on the decline since the 1960ís and 1970ís, the yield from the teak and pine plantations has began to increase. As a result of the availability of pine and teak to sawmillers during the period under review, the total volume of round logs harvested locally peaked at 71,302 cubic metres in 1997. Production of coniferous roundlogs showed a steady increase during the period.

During the review period, roundlog production from the natural forests varied from a low 23% of total production in 1994 to 44 % of total production in 1996. Roundlog production in teak plantations ranged from 28% of total production in 1998 to a maximum of 53 % in 1994. In Pine plantations production varied from 17 % of total production in 1996 to a maximum of 38 % in 1993. On the average plantations provided 66 % of the roundlogs for the local market for the period 1993 to 1998. This trend will continue in the future as more plantations mature and less timber from the natural forests are available for sale.

 

 

Table 3 Volume of round logs produced in Trinidad and Tobago from 1993 to 1998.

Product Group

Unit

Year

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

Non Coniferous round logs natural forests

M3

13713

11122

24295

25742

24133

17355

Non Coniferous round logs Teak plantations

M3

12649

26149

26771

22680

28576

13967

Coniferous round logs Pine Plantations

M3

16,597

11,994

15,386

10,387

18,593

18,967

Total

 

42,959

49,265

66,452

58,809

71,302

50,289

 

2.4.2. Sawnwood produced

During the period 1995 to 1999 a review of the existing reports submitted annually by sawmillers reveals the following output of sawnwood from local supplies of round logs (Table 4).

 

Table 4. Summary of sawmills returns for the period 1995 to 1999.

Year

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

Input (CUM)

73057

147117

193037

746933

85518

Output (CUM)

33751

29232

49018

56049

32900

Mean Conversion (board feet per hoppus feet)

8.9

10.1

11.2

8.2

7.2

Maximum conversion (board feet per hoppus feet)

81.9

97.6

251.7

80

43.5

Minimum conversion (board feet per hoppus feet)

0.49

0.12

0.07

0.03

0.11

Capacity (cubic metres)

1014248

1047854

1056864

4901605

1617752

Total employees

548

566

534

755

574

Estimated mean conversion(board feet per hoppus feet)

8.0

7.85

7.85

8.1

7.67

 

2.5. Wood products imported

The most important wood products imported are plywood, particleboard and fibreboard for the furniture and construction trades. These products are utilised extensively in the manufacture of furniture, cupboards and other internal construction. Similarly, sawnwood is imported to meet the needs of the expanding sectors of housing, industry and furniture. Sawnwood is used in the form of dimensional stock for framing, partition, industrial construction and furniture making for local consumption and for export. Although charcoal is not an important fuel in the Country, the import of charcoal and fuelwood for recreational activities has increased with the general rise in the standard of living over the review period.

The import of forest products over the period 1993 to 1998 is shown in Table 5. Due to the general economic expansion within the last decade, there were increases in imports of all major forest products as shown in Table 5 and Figures 2,3,4,5,6 and 7. This trend is predicted to continue in the future.

 

Table 5. Volume of imports of wood products into Trinidad and Tobago from 1993 to 1998 (Source CSO).

Product Group

Unit

Year

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

Charcoal and fuelwood

MT

12

182

67

13

245

57

Sawnwood

CUM

30,254

40,562

45,036

44,950

68,899

73,097

Plywood

CUM

16,878

14,099

18,677

18,421

21,259

24,270

Particle board

CUM

397

1,198

1,660

895

1454

1,559

Fibreboard

CUM

842

1,208

1,334

981

1,193

2,561

Woodpulp

MT

2,135

3,114

2,549

2,323

3,762

18,795

Newsprint

MT

4,451

4,384

8,993

6,289

9,968

9,398

Printing/Writing paper

MT

8,154

10,229

11,232

12,582

13,415

14,566

Other Paper and Paper board

MT

50,800

36,000

44,000

36,000

43,000

50,000

 

2.6. Wood products exported

The export of wood products from Trinidad and Tobago is shown in Table 6. Most of these products that are exported are not produced locally but are re-exports of imported products. However, the export of doors, doorframes and windows, has been showing positive signs of growth in the export sector during the five-year period. Most of the materials used in the manufacture of these articles are locally produced. While the growth in the export of wood based panels, sawnwood, charcoal, wooden articles and paper products increased during the review period, the increases were negligible compared to the import of these same products (Figures 2,3,4,5,6 and 7).

 

Table 6 Volume of exports of wood Products from Trinidad and Tobago 1993 to 1998.

Product Group

Unit

Year

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

Charcoal and fuelwood

MT

4

2

3

2

2

26

Sawnwood

CUM

831

1,015

5,178

5,426

3,130

1,366

Plywood

CUM

25

103

55

89

97

43

Particle board

CUM

60

34

12

28

26

20

Fibreboard

CUM

0.2

0

2

5

3

3

Newsprint

MT

0

2

11

31

61

61

Printing/Writing paper

MT

1705

2240

2308

3468

3434

3730

Wooden articles

MT

238

383

343

353

418

241

Doors and windows

MT

1042

1238

1792

2275

3275

3369

 

2.7. The most important wood industry

Logging is possibly the most important wood industry at the local level. It comprises the woodworkers (licensees), the sawmillers and the furniture manufacturers who are all involved in the production of roundlogs and the utilisation of sawnwood.

 

 

 

There are approximately 300-400 registered licensees and private loggers who purchase trees from the Governmentís forest and from private lands. They employ power saw operators, labourers, tractor and skidder operators for the felling and extraction of round logs. Most of these licensees are self-employed. They are the main suppliers of round logs to the sawmilling and furniture industries.

There are 75 registered sawmills in Trinidad and Tobago. Most of these mills operate at an average of 20% of installed capacity usually working 3-4 days per week. The sawmilling industry employed an average of 595 persons annually from 1995 to 1999. Within the last 5 years, the private sawmillers had access to teak and pine roundlogs and some of them increased their employment and expanded their businesses. The sawmillers are the suppliers of local sawnwood on the local market to the furniture manufacturers and the construction industry. Further demands are met from the imports of coniferous sawnwood from the United States, Canada and Latin America, Additionally nonconiferous sawnwood and round logs are imported from Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.

There are approximately 140 registered furniture manufacturers. The size of the businesses varies from small family owned business to modern semi-automated factories. While the larger factories target the export market and the chain stores, several self-employed small operators manufacture furniture for the local market. The furniture industry was the supplier of windows, doors and their frames to the external market, which showed positive growth during the period 1993 to 1998. It was the only sector of the local market, which showed a positive balance of trade.

 

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