Forestry Products from Portugal
Portugal has become known worldwide, particularly because of it’s cultural past traditions, for its timber products, especially furniture. Portugal is one of the world’s leading producers of cork and cork products and one of the main exporters in Europe of pulp and paper.
Portugal is a country with only around 10 million habitants and so it is not difficult to see the significance of the forest industry to the economy. In 2007 Portugal were the 9th worldwide producers of tropical round timber.
Portugal has some rare trees such as maritime, pine and cork. The forestry product sector is divided into seven main areas based upon the final products:
- Wood-based panels
- Carpentry and joinery
- Timber trade
- Pulp and paper
- Cork and cork products
Paper from Portugal Campaign
A European campaign entitled ‘More Forests, Better Future’ was launched by the Portuguese Paper Industry Association (CELPA) in 2011. The campaigns main aim was to illustrate how the pulp and paper industry in Portugal promotes forestation whilst profiting from its natural resources.
The ‘Paper from Portugal’ campaign aims to show how the Portuguese paper and pulp industry became a success story for it’s efforts in maintaining forest sustainability with high quality paper product exports.
One of the campaigns major functions is to educate people using a wide range of media and videos. The website has been designed to attract large numbers of visitors and can be found at www.paperfromportugal.com
Paper making in Portugal
Portugal has become one of the big exporters of paper over the years and yet due to its sustainability efforts its forests have still increased by around 60%.
The next stage in making paper from trees is that the raw wood needs to be turned into a pulp. Wood pulp is a type of watery mush made of cellulose wood fibers, lignin (an organic polymer found in plants), water and any chemicals that may be used during the pulping process. There are two ways of making the pulp and these are:-
- Mechanically: The wood fibers are ground down by machinery into very fine wood chips. The paper that is produced in this way tends to be not as strong and would commonly be used for newspapers or telephone directories.
- Chemically: Chemicals are used to turn the wood fibers into a pulp. This method tends to produce a stronger paper as most of the glue like substance in the pulp is removed.
Timber Production in Portugal
The end product of commercial forestry is timber and the first stage involves felling the trees. Tree felling is often done in the winter months when the trees have less moisture content which reduces the cost of transport.
A specialized forest worker will select mature trees and in a sustainable system felled trees should be replaced with saplings. Sometimes specific trees are selected from a forest and sometimes a whole area of forest dedicated to commerce will be felled and replaced.
Local, small forest workers may use a chainsaw to harvest the trees, however if a large number of trees are involved machinery may be used that can fell hundreds of trees at a time.
The wood or logs are stored in a clearing which allows some of the moisture content to evaporate. The wood is then transported to the sawmill using large lorries or if possible floating them down rivers.
Once at the sawmill a process called conversion takes place. Firstly the logs are roughly sawn then a finer or more accurate cutting takes place and finally planing and finishing.
Below are the full size photographs of timber production.