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In Germany, the high lumber prices stir up strong emotions, because at the same time as lumber traders make big money with exports, forest owners only get crumbs from the cake. 

Now the German Forestry Council is calling for a strike.

The rise in log prices is very slow as compared to the increase in lumber prices in Germany. The President of the German Forest Industry Council recently mentioned a logging stop as the final wake-up call. The forest owners are the losers of a speculative bubble and should just leave the trees in the forst, he said in a local newspaper.

Since Christmas alone, the price of lumber, which is paid at the Port of Hamburg for the world market, has risen from 280 to around 600 euros per cubic meter. “Everyone benefits from this, only the forest owners not,” said Schirmbeck. His appeal to the approximately two million private forest owners: “Stop the sawing, let the trees stand!”

“Huge profits are made with our raw material, but the forest owners do not benefit from it,” said Schirmbeck. “We are being ripped off by the few timber industry groups that dominate the market.” The forest owners, who were already financially damaged by drought and bark beetles, still only get an average of between € 70 and € 75 / m3 spruce logs, which later bring in record prices as sawn products.

“We demand a fair price for our product. It can’t go on like this, ”said Schirmbeck.

The German Forest Owners’ Association (DWFR) is therefore issuing a call to the country’s forest owners not to deliver more timber until they get a better price.

”I see no other option than to urge our members to stop the logging and to leave the trees standing. With our raw material, huge money is being made right now, and we are being deceived by a few timber trading groups that dominate the market, says Georg Schirmbeck, chairman of DWFR to agrarheute.

The timber industry calls for prudence

Steffen Rathke, President of the German Timber Industry Council (DHWR), calls on the President of the German Forestry Industry, Georg Schirmbeck, to be prudent after the boycott call. The disruptions in the supply chains caused primarily by pandemics and forest damage, combined with the national and global demand fueled by economic stimulus packages, are causing an unprecedented special situation on the raw materials market. This particularly affects some players in the timber market:

“Anyone who calls on forest owners to stop deliveries or approves regulatory interventions in the market fails to recognize the current situation of many thousands of companies in the timber industry and forestry in every respect. These companies try every day to secure their livelihood in the volatile markets. It is precisely the small and medium-sized companies that are dependent on regional supplies from the local forest owners. They depend on a continuous and plannable regional supply of fresh logs, as they manufacture the wood products that are currently in demand by the construction industry and consumers.

A boycott call is aimed primarily at German medium-sized companies, which are currently already struggling with the consequences of the pandemic and delivery problems. And in the end, just like the logging restriction that recently came into force with the Forest Damage Compensation Act, it is directed against consumers.

I can only call on all market partners to be prudent, we must not fall into hysteria and fuel the situation further by buying hamsters or calling for a boycott. It is completely understandable that this exceptional situation was getting people, but we can see the challenges we face only solve common, ” Rathke said.

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