North America

For many years, the United States has experienced problems in recruiting labour for the arduous task of tapping trees at a wage which makes the collection and processing of resin economically viable. This has led to a steady decline in gum naval stores production, and from a wide supply base in the southeast where P. elliottii (slash pine) is grown for pulpwood, tapping is now confined to the state of Georgia. Extant production is probably only a few thousand tonnes; exports of gum rosin averaged about 1200 tonnes/year for the five years 1989-1993 and were less than 1000 tonnes in 1993. Naval stores production remains a major industry in the USA (and a dominant force in the world), but it is based largely on sulphate turpentine and tall oil rosin recovered during chemical pulping (sulphate naval stores) and, to a much lesser extent, on wood naval stores.

There are probably more native Pinus in Mexico than in any other country in the world. Although many of the species are unsuitable for tapping, a large naval stores industry has developed using those which are. Although mixed stands of pines are often tapped, the major species is P. oocarpa. Tapping is concentrated in the states of Michoacán, Jalisco and Mexico. However, as in the United States, there has been a downward trend in resin production, and output has fallen from about 60000 tonnes/year in the early 1980s to about 30000 tonnes/year in the early 1990s. Gum rosin and turpentine production was around 22000 tonnes and 4000 tonnes, respectively, in 1991; most was consumed domestically.

Central and South America and the Caribbean

Several countries in Central America have tapped pines for resin at some time but Honduras remains the major producer. Most of the resin is obtained from P. oocarpa although a small quantity comes from P. caribaea var. hondurensis. Production of crude resin in Honduras peaked in the early 1980s, but has since declined. In recent years it appears to have stabilized at about 6000-8000 tonnes/year (equivalent to approximately 4500-6000 tonnes of rosin). Most of the rosin is exported, mainly to Europe, where Germany is the largest importer.

Brazil is the biggest producer of gum naval stores in South America. Considerable areas (approximately 1.5 million ha) are planted with pine of different species; the tropical P. caribaea and P. oocarpa are grown in the north and the more temperate P. elliottii and P. taeda (a poor resin yielder) are grown in the south. Large-scale tapping began in the late 1970s and production of crude resin increased steadily to around 65000 tonnes in the late 1980s. The resin has been obtained almost entirely from P. elliottii and production has taken place mainly in São Paulo state; there is some additional production in Paraná, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul and Rio de Janeiro. Production fell somewhat in 1991 and 1992 but is currently believed to be around 60000-65000 tonnes (equivalent to 42000-45000 tonnes of rosin and 7000-8000 tonnes of turpentine). Most of the processed products are consumed domestically, but significant quantities are exported (13500 tonnes of gum rosin and 3000 tonnes of turpentine in 1993). Replanting is not keeping pace with the loss of P. elliottii trees as they come to the end of their tapping life and it is likely that P. Caribaea will be increasingly targeted as a source of resin in the future.

Argentina and Venezuela are the only other two countries producing gum naval stores in South America. In Argentina, plantations of P. elliottii are tapped in the northeastern provinces of Misiones, Corrientes and Entre Rios. Crude resin production is estimated at approximately 30000 tonnes (1993) from which 21000 tonnes of rosin and 4000 tonnes of turpentine are obtained. Substantial amounts of both products are converted into value-added derivatives for domestic consumption and export. Venezuela is believed to produce around 7000 tonnes of crude resin from P. caribaea.

There are some very large plantations of P. radiata in Chile (about 1.5 million ha). Experimental tapping has taken place and although the quality of the turpentine from P. radiata is probably superior to that from any other species, yields of resin are not high enough to encourage commercial production.

In the Caribbean, small quantities of resin have been produced in Cuba from three native pines (P. caribaea var. caribaea, P. tropicalis and P. cubensis) but output has averaged less than 700 tonnes/year for the five years from 1989 to 1993.

Africa

Although large areas of pines have been-planted for timber or pulp for some time, Africa has only become a producer of gum naval stores relatively recently. Tapping of P. elliottii in the Chimanimani area of the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe began in 1976. Production of crude resin has never exceeded about 1000 tonnes/year, however, and as the pine resource comes under increasing pressure for use as timber, output is expected to fall and perhaps cease altogether. Small amounts of rosin have been exported intermittently to South Africa but most is consumed domestically by the paper industry.

Kenya and South Africa both began production in about 1986. A diverse source of raw materials is used in Kenya; P. elliottii growing in the Machakos area of southern Kenya provides most of the resin, P. caribaea var. hondurensis is tapped in he southern Kwale and P. radiata ifs tapped at higher elevations near Nakuru. The total resin production of about 1000 tonnes/year is showing a small upward trend. All the rosin is converted to a modified form and sold to local paper mills for use as a sizing agent.

South African tapping operations are centred on the extensive P. elliottii and P. caribaea var. caribaea plantings in the Lake St Lucia area of northern Natal. Production of resin is more than 2000 tonnes/year, which is the highest of the three African countries. Most of the resulting rosin and turpentine is consumed domestically. The rosin is used mainly for paper size and in the manufacture of adhesives; some is exported.

Several other African countries have the potential for gum naval stores production by using the extensive areas of under-exploited pines which exist. There are signs that in some cases this potential is being realized in practical terms. Malawi, for example, has more than 50000 ha of mature pines in the north of the country and although most of them are P. patula, a species with little or no prospect as a commercial source of resin, there are probably enough P. elliottii to make commercial tapping a viable proposition; it is unlikely, however, to become a large producer of naval stores in international terms. It is understood (late 1994) that commercial production will begin in Malawi in 1995. In Uganda, commercial tapping of P. caribaea began on a small scale in late 1994. Several other countries, including Tanzania and Zambia, have substantial areas of pines, but their suitability and capacity to support gum naval stores production has not yet been proved.

Indian sub-continent

India has been producing naval stores for a long time. Areas of natural and, more recently, plantation P. roxburghii (chir pine) have been used in the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. P. wallichiana grows at higher elevations along the same Himalayan belt but as it gives lower yields of resin than P. roxburghii, little, if any, is tapped commercially. Crude resin production peaked at about 75000 tonnes in 1975/76 and has since fallen steadily. Production in 1990/91 was less than 25000 tonnes, although it is now believed to have recovered and stabilized at about 25000-30000 tonnes (equivalent to approximately 18000-21000 tonnes of rosin). The main reason for the decline has been the loss of trees for tapping, either because many of them have reached the end of their productive lives and there are no new areas of pine with which to replace them, or because the damage done to trees by the use of inefficient, incorrectly applied methods of tapping has led to Forest Department bans on tapping.

The loss of substantial indigenous production of crude resin, and the demands of Indian industry for naval stores products, have meant that India is now a net importer of both rosin and turpentine. The shortfall in local production has been further compensated by the importation of about 100000 tonnes/year of crude resin. The greatest single use of turpentine in India is for the production of synthetic camphor.

P. roxburghii is also tapped in Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan. The quantity of resin produced by the three countries combined does not exceed a few thousand tonnes and is probably much less. All the output from Nepal and Bhutan goes to India.

In Sri Lanka, about 30000 ha of P. caribaea (mainly var. hondurensis) have been planted on degraded land, on which the species has flourished. These plantations have great potential as sources of gum naval stores, but although some small-scale tapping has taken place, there is no large-scale collection and processing of resin at present.

Estimates of world production and exports

Estimates for production of crude resin, gum rosin and gum turpentine, and exports of gum rosin and gum turpentine are presented in Table 3. The estimates are based on published data which-are believed to be reliable, and on trade sources. In cases where figures differ widely the authors have used their judgement to provide an estimate.

Table 3. Estimated world production and export of crude resin, gum rosin and gum turpentine (tonnes)



Production

Exports

Crude resin

Rosin

Turpentine

Rosin

Turpentine

Total

976000

717000

99400

384000

25000

of which:






China, People's Rep. of

a1993

570000

430000

50000

277000

5500

Indonesia

1993

100000

69000

12000

46000

7500

Russia

1992

90000

65000

9000

1000

500

Brazil

1993

65000

45000

8000

13000

3000

Portugal

1992

30000

b22000

b5000

26000

6000

India

1994

30000

b21000

b4000

-

-

Argentina

1993

30000

21000

4000

c10000

2000

Mexico

1991

30000

22000

4000

5000

?

Honduras

1992

8000

6000

1000

5000

500

Venezuela

1993

7000

5000

800

~

-

Greece

1993

6000

4000

600

~

-

South Africa

1993

2000

1500

200

~

-

Viet Nam

1990

2000

1500

200

1000

-

Others


6000

4000

600

~

-

Source: Based on various literature and trade estimates

Notes:

a Production and exports expected to be sharply reduced for 1994/95
b Does not include that produced from imported crude resin
c Mainly downstream derivatives
~ Indicates small amounts