Södra’s forestry division, Södra Skog, facilitates the flow of logs from our members’ forests to our sawmills. How does their Wood Supply Manager Kim Gunnarsson, explain the current log supply dynamics, which have an inevitable impact on the supply of sawn timber?
How is the supply of logs to sawmills at present compared with demand?
Kim Gunnarsson: We are struggling to meet the need for timber before the summer break. At Södra we always put safety first and with the current risk of fire in the forest, we can only drive forest machines at night. If the current situation persists there will be a shortage before or after July, although it is difficult to predict the extent at the moment.
What might be the reasons for members being less active in supplying logs at present?
KG: There was a high level of felling in 2021 due to the bark beetle damage. Harvesting stocks declined sharply in 2022 as many forest owners had undertaken felling and were focused on thinning and silviculture instead. With higher log prices, the willingness to harvest has increased again in 2023. But it's still below the level of 2021. In the short term I would say that a wet winter and now the risk of fire are the biggest reasons for a lower harvesting level.
Why have log prices increased?
KG: This is due to stronger competition for all raw materials, both timber and pulpwood. Our Harvesting stock is still low due to the decrease in felling in 2022.
How do you foresee log supply in the next 12 months?
KG: I hope for rain in the short term to ease felling restrictions, and we can also foresee an increase in harvesting stock due to the latest increase in log prices. I still believe that it will be a challenge, but our members have a great interest in forestry and prices are now better, so I am positive that we will be able to meet the need from our sawmills.