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Wood for reconstruction

The demand for wood and wood products to rebuild houses, civil buildings, infrastructure and fishing boats, as well as to meet fuelwood needs, will be substantial.

Immediate fuelwood needs may be met from salvaged wood, but controlled usage of what is available is necessary and longer term strategies for meeting the demands for wood and wood products for a variety of purposes need to be formulated. The need for wood for repairs and new construction of boats, bridges and wooden houses is likely to lead to further pressure on the coastal forests - including increased pressure to remove existing logging bans.

It may be more appropriate to provide portable sawmills or chainsaws in some places to allow people to salvage wood for reconstruction (including special tools, equipment, and training for utilizing coconut stems). However, in other instances, it may be fitting to provide construction materials (e.g. plywood, cement etc.) from other national or international locations to avoid the risk of damage to mangrove and coastal forests from over-exploitation for reconstruction.

Any construction wood has to withstand fungal and insect attack. If of low natural durability, it has to be treated against marine borers and termites, dependent on end use. In some cases the national supplies may be in a position to provide the timber required. In other cases, imports will have to be considered.

Needs for action

A systematic and comprehensive assessment is needed that addresses:

  • wood demand for post-tsunami reconstruction in the affected areas;
  • potential for salvaging wood for construction from the affected areas and inputs or other support needed to facilitate this;
  • potential for supplying the timber demand from domestic sources, taking into consideration any policy or institutional factors that would affect availability;
  • need or relative merits of importing wood from outside Indonesia;
  • how to supply the demand for various industrial wood products needed for reconstruction and steps that could be taken to minimize the risk of unsustainable forest harvesting.

Further information

  • Development and Implementation of a Wood Procurement Plan for Post'Tsunami Reconstruction in Indonesia , by G. Kuru, 3 July 2005(English version)