The forests of Ukraine are an important component of the country’s landscape system and perform mainly ecological and social functions. Moreover, forests are a source of various renewable resources, primarily wood.
The availability of complete and objective information about the regional structure of the wood market in Ukraine is very important to create a development strategy for the forestry and woodworking industries, which are producers and consumers of wood resources.
Therefore, the analysis of the forest raw material base of wood harvesting should ensure the effective use of the forest fund for wood production.
The aim of the study was to assess the pre-war state of the forest raw material base of wood production in Ukraine which had to meet the needs of the wood processing industry, in order to use the findings as a basis for further forecasting of the wood market in the country in the post-war period.
Materials and Methods
The analysis of the forest resource base of Ukraine in the pre-war period regarding the production (harvesting) and sale of roundwood was carried out taking into account the territorial characteristics of the country’s regions. The grouping of the State Forest Resources Agency of Ukraine by regions and natural zones of Ukraine was used: Polissia or Forest zone (Volyn, Zhytomyr, Rivne, Chernihiv), Forest Steppe (Vinnytsia, Kyiv, Poltava, Sumy, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Khmelnytskyi, Cherkasy), Steppe (Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Kirovohrad, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kherson), Carpathians (Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Chernivtsi), the Crimea.
The input information for the analysis of the regional structure of the forest raw material base of wood production was the Ukrderzhlisproekt Production Association data.
The data on areas and growing stock volumes suitable for wood production are of great importance for the analysis of the forest resource potential of Ukraine. Depending on the main functions performed by forests, they have restrictions on wood harvesting to one degree or another. Therefore, within each category of forests, there are forest areas that are possible for exploitation, i.e. suitable for wood production as well as forests that are unsuitable for wood production (based on nature protection/ecological and economic grounds). The actual or potential use of the forest area for obtaining wood served as the criterion for indicating differences between the specified categories.
More than 50% of the area of forests which belong to the State Forest Resources Agency of Ukraine is suitable for wood production. In the exploitation forests, 86% of their area is suitable for wood production, while in the forests with a special mode of use (protective, nature preserving, recreational ones) only 30%. The growing stock in Ukrainian forests increased more than the annual harvesting volume: the ratio of the cuttings to increment (the average increase of the growing stock) volumes was about 60%.
The imbalance between the harvesting volume and the average increment results in a significant accumulation of the growing stock. Actual volumes of timber harvesting were significantly lower than potentially possible in all natural zones. Thus, based on the practice of wood production in European countries, the increase in the volume of cutting in Ukraine is sufficiently justified.
Long-term trends in the development of the forest resource base of Ukraine in the pre-war period were generally stable. During the last decades, the values of the forest area, growing stock, and increment have steadily increased. The specified trend regarding the increase in the volume of forest resources was observed in all regions of Ukraine.
The analysis of the regional features of the forest fund shows the positive dynamics of the potential supply of raw materials in the wood market of the country. The findings confirm that it is able to meet the needs of both domestic wood-processing enterprises and the round timber export.
The conducted analysis of the pre-war state of forest resources of Ukraine in relation to wood production will serve as a basis for further forecasting of the wood market in the post-war period of the country’s economy.
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