Challenges and Countermeasures for the development of China’s forestry industry

Challenges and Countermeasures for the development of China’s forestry industry

January 10, 2022 source: Huizhou Forestry Bureau

Developing forestry industry is an important way to broaden farmers’ employment channels, promote farmers’ income, and realize rural industrial revitalization and economic development. Since the founding of the people’s Republic of China, especially in the 20 years since the 21st century, China’s forestry development has made great achievements and achieved leapfrog development. However, due to the change of internal and external environment, the development of China’s forestry industry is facing many challenges, such as the prominent problem of wood safety, the rising cost of Forestry labor force, the low stability and competitiveness of forestry industry chain supply chain, the arduous task of forestry in coping with climate change and the intensification of trade barriers of forest products. In order to promote the high-quality development of China’s forestry industry, consolidate and expand the key achievements in poverty alleviation and effectively connect with rural revitalization, it is necessary to summarize the main achievements of China’s forestry industry development, deeply analyze the major challenges faced, and then put forward countermeasures to deal with the challenges.

The data used in this paper are mainly from the national forestry statistics, China Forestry Statistics Yearbook, China forestry and grassland statistics yearbook and the database of the National Bureau of statistics over the years, China forest resources report: 2014-2018, 2015 global forest resources assessment report and relevant references.

1. Main achievements

Since the founding of the people’s Republic of China, the development of China’s forestry industry has made outstanding achievements in industrial scale, industrial structure, forest product trade and poverty alleviation.

In the 12 years from 1994 to 2006, the total output value of China’s forestry industry exceeded trillion yuan (1065.222 billion yuan). After 70 years of rapid development, China has become the largest country in forest product production in the world and a real big country in forestry industry.

Second, the forestry industrial structure has been continuously optimized. Since the founding of the people’s Republic of China, China’s forestry industry has not only achieved rapid growth in scale and total amount, but also undergone profound changes in scope and structure, and initially formed a complete modern forestry industry system covering primary, secondary and tertiary forestry. From different stages, from the founding of the people’s Republic of China to the period of reform and opening up, the main task of forestry industry development is to provide timber for the construction of industrial system and the recovery and development of national economy. The State implements the system of unified purchase and marketing for timber production, and producers’ utilization of forest resources is mainly timber harvesting, resulting in an extremely single forestry industrial structure, The * * industry represented by forest production and wood mining and transportation industry occupies an absolute advantage. From the reform and opening up to the implementation of the natural conservation project, the secondary and tertiary forestry industries represented by wood processing have developed rapidly, but the Forestry * * industry still occupies an advantage. By 1998, the output value structure of the tertiary forestry industry was 70%: 26%: 4%. From the implementation of the natural forest protection project to 2012, the second forestry industry represented by wood processing, wood furniture manufacturing and papermaking developed rapidly. By 2012, the output value structure of the three forestry industries had changed to 35%: 53%: 12%. The proportion of the output value of the second forestry industry exceeded the sum of the output value of the first forestry industry and the third forestry industry. The second forestry industry occupied a dominant position in the forestry industry system. Since 2012, the tertiary forestry industry represented by forestry tourism and leisure services has developed rapidly. By 2019, the output value structure of the tertiary forestry industry will become 31%: 45%: 24%, and the output value of the tertiary forestry industry will account for more than 20%. Throughout the 70 years of development, China’s forestry industrial structure has evolved from a single forest management and timber harvesting to a pattern of complete and coordinated development of three categories of economic forest products, such as planting and collection, wood processing, wood-based panel manufacturing, forestry tourism and leisure services. The existing forestry industrial system has the characteristics of wide coverage, long industrial chain and many types of products.

Third, the international trade of forest products continued to grow. Since the founding of the people’s Republic of China, the import and export trade volume of China’s forest products has gradually grown from close to zero to a world forest product trade country with an annual trade volume of more than 100 billion US dollars. Based on the current price (nominal value), the trade volume of China’s forest products increased from US $7.624 billion to US $150.356 billion from 1993 to 2019, the trade scale expanded 19 times, and the average annual growth rate reached 12.08%. From the perspective of trade model, China’s forest products trade has evolved from a trade model dominated by primary forest products such as logs and sawn timber to a trade model of “two ends outside, big in and big out”. This mode presents the characteristics of processing trade of imported raw materials such as logs and wood pulp, and exported manufactured products such as wood-based panels and wooden furniture. It belongs to an export-oriented trade development mode.

2. Major challenges

Since the founding of the people’s Republic of China, the rapid development of China’s forestry industry is mainly driven by the input of traditional factors such as labor, capital and natural resources, which belongs to a typical “factor driven” model. After entering the new era, this model is becoming more and more unsustainable, and the development of China’s forestry industry is facing five challenges:

First, the effective supply capacity of resources is insufficient, and the problem of wood safety is becoming increasingly prominent. Forest resources are the basis of the development of forestry industry. Although China’s forest coverage and forest stock have achieved “double growth” for many consecutive years, on the whole, China is still a country with lack of forest, less green and fragile ecology. Both per capita forest area and per capita forest stock are far lower than the world average. At the same time, China’s forest quality is generally not high, and the forest volume per unit area is 94.83 m3 / HM ², Significantly lower than the world average (129 m3 / HM) ²), With Germany (321 m3 / HM) ²)、 New Zealand (392 m3 / HM) ²) And other forestry developed countries. In addition, the state is implementing a comprehensive natural forest protection policy. Domestic wood production mainly depends on artificial forests, which account for only 36.45% of the total forest area. As a result, the contradiction between supply and demand of China’s forest resources has intensified in recent years, and the external dependence of wood has reached 50% and showing an increasing trend. The top 10 source countries of logs imported from Africa have issued system documents prohibiting or restricting log export, and hundreds of countries in the world have tightened log export policies. How to improve the domestic timber supply capacity and ensure the safety of timber supply is a major practical problem that China’s forestry industry needs to solve in the new era.

Second, the improvement of the quality of Forestry labor force is slow, and the cost of Forestry labor force is rising. Since the reform and opening up, a large number of rural labor force has flowed to urban non-agricultural and non forest industries. Due to the large number of young and middle-aged forest farmers working in cities and the groups of the elderly, women and children left behind in forest and mountain areas, a large number of “hollow villages” have appeared in forest and mountain areas. In addition, the enthusiasm of forest farmers’ children for forest management is not high, and forestry production is facing the crisis of family inheritance. Although the overall quality of the whole social talent team has improved rapidly since the reform and opening up, the improvement of the quality of Forestry labor force is relatively slow. The reason is that the environmental conditions of forestry production are difficult, the comparative income of forestry production and management is low, and the attraction to high-quality talents is not enough. For a long time, the development of China’s forestry industry has made use of the comparative advantage of cheap labor force to occupy the processing link advantage in the division of labor in the international forestry industry chain, while the western developed countries occupy the R & D and sales link of the industry chain based on the advantages of capital and technology. With the rising labor price, the advantage of cheap labor gradually disappears. The analysis results of Ren Fengwei and others show that compared with the Tenth Five Year Plan period, the reforestation cost, young forest tending cost and collection cost in the Eleventh Five Year Plan period in four counties of Liaodong have increased by 60.7%, 123.2% and 41.9% respectively. China’s forestry industry is still in the labor-intensive stage, and the impact of rising labor costs on forestry producers is increasing year by year.

Third, the forestry investment risk is large, the comparative benefit is low, and the stability and competitiveness of the forestry industry chain and supply chain are not high. Due to the weak characteristics of forestry production, such as long cycle, slow turnover time of forestry funds, and forestry production affected by climate disasters, forestry investment faces both natural and market risks; Overseas investment is affected by the political situation and policy environment of the country and region where it is located, and also faces certain political risks. China’s forestry innovation ability is weak. The forestry industry is generally a labor-intensive industry, and the per capita labor productivity is less than 1 / 6 of that of developed countries. Compared with other industries, the comparative benefit of forestry investment is obviously low. In addition, due to the short forestry industry chain, the insufficient stability of forest product supply chain, the lack of large enterprises with international influence, the lack of comprehensive market platform, and the lack of pricing power in the world, the forestry industry is in a disadvantageous position in the division of labor in the global industry chain, and the international competitiveness of the forestry industry is not high.

Fourth, the impact of global warming is intensified, the pressure of emission reduction is huge, and forestry has a heavy task to deal with climate change. Climate change is not only a severe challenge facing human society, but also a global issue of great concern to the international community. *** ³。

Fifth, the international trade competition is becoming increasingly fierce, and the trade barriers of forest products are increasing. Since the reform and opening up, China’s forest products trade has developed rapidly, and its import and export trade volume has leapt to the first place in the world, becoming a real forest products trade country. However, due to the long-term dependence on the processing trade mode of “two ends outside, large in and large out”, the trade structure of forest products is unreasonable, the scientific and technological content of forest products is low, the competitiveness of the industrial chain is not strong, and the trade voice is weak, which is still far from the goal of becoming a powerful country in forest products trade. Studies have shown that in 2017, the comparative advantage of China’s forest products ranked 16th among the world’s 20 major forest product trading countries, only three places higher than that in 2000, and the overall level is still at a low level. In recent years, trade protectionism in European and American countries has risen, and the forms of trade barriers have expanded from early tariffs, quotas and licenses to anti-dumping, countervailing, forest certification, combating illegal logging, intellectual property protection and other forms. Due to the intensification of trade friction, the export environment of China’s forest products trade has become more complex. In addition, due to the high export concentration of China’s main wood forest products, they are mainly concentrated in a few developed countries such as the United States, Japan, Britain and Germany. Generally, the higher the trade concentration, the easier it is to encounter trade barriers; Moreover, once the trade relations with these countries deteriorate, it is easier to have an impact on trade. For example, since 2018, the negative competition situation in China US relations has intensified day by day, the United States has continuously imposed tariff rates, and the number of trade investigation cases launched against China’s wood-based panels has increased sharply, which has had a serious impact on the export of wood-based panels, wood furniture and other wood forest products in China.

3. Countermeasures

First, establish a new concept of wood safety, strengthen the construction of national reserve forests, and take the road of independent and self-sufficient sustainable utilization of wood. According to the traditional view of wood safety, wood is an important raw material and the only renewable material among the four basic materials (steel, cement, wood and plastics); To ensure a country’s wood security is to ensure the country’s wood supply, which includes domestic production and foreign net import. Under the guidance of this wood safety concept, countries with insufficient domestic wood production can ensure the safety of wood supply through import channels. In contrast, the new concept of wood security holds that under the overall situation of globalization and climate change, wood security is not an isolated problem of wood supply, nor a problem of wood production and utilization in a single country, but a comprehensive problem involving ecological security, economic growth and social development. It is a strategic problem of mutual benefit and win-win among countries, regions and even the world; If we want to ensure national timber security, we should improve domestic timber production and supply instead of relying on foreign imports. Under the background of comprehensive natural forest protection, China should aim at cultivating a stable, healthy, high-quality and efficient forest ecosystem, focus on promoting the construction of national reserve forest base on a large scale, strengthen forest tending and management according to local conditions, and strive to improve forest quality and efficiency; We will actively develop artificial timber forests, strive to improve domestic timber production capacity, reduce dependence on foreign timber, and take the road of independent and self-sufficient sustainable utilization of timber.

Second, actively expand the domestic demand market for forest products, accelerate the cultivation of a complete domestic demand system, and promote the integration of the forestry industry into the new international and domestic “double cycle” development pattern. China has a large-scale market advantage and domestic demand potential, and the consumption of forest products ranks first in the world. With the promotion of China’s new urbanization construction and the implementation of the Rural Revitalization Strategy, the domestic consumption market of forest products has been further expanded, which brings new opportunities for China’s forestry enterprises to promote the domestic market cycle of forest products. At present, the Chinese government actively advocates the concept of green development, green production and lifestyle, “replacing plastic with wood” and “replacing steel with wood” will become an important direction of low-carbon economic development in the future. We should actively publicize the culture of wood forest products and ecological culture, encourage the consumption of wood forest products and ecotourism, accelerate the cultivation of a complete domestic demand system, and promote the integrated development of the three forestry industries; At the same time, we should actively develop international trade in forest products, connect domestic and foreign markets, promote the formation of domestic and international double circulation of forest products, and add new impetus to the development of China’s forestry industry.

Third, optimize and upgrade the forestry factor structure, improve the forestry total factor productivity, and promote the reform of forestry industry efficiency. Adhere to the principle of “quality first and benefit first” and strive to improve the development quality of forestry industry. The key to changing the forestry development model is to promote the transformation of the development kinetic energy of the forestry industry, get rid of the excessive dependence on the investment of traditional production factors, and turn to relying more on innovative factors such as science and technology, talents, knowledge and information. By improving factor quality and optimizing factor structure, continuously improve the single factor productivity of Forestry labor, capital and land, and continuously improve the total factor productivity of forestry, so as to promote the forestry industry to achieve the goal of improving quality and efficiency.

Fourth, strengthen forestry scientific research and the transfer and transformation of scientific and technological achievements, enhance the supporting role of scientific and technological innovation, and improve the modernization level of forestry industry. For a long time, China’s forestry science and technology management has been dominated by government departments. Science and technology investment mainly comes from financial funds at all levels, and all kinds of science and technology resources are mainly concentrated in Colleges and universities and scientific research institutes. Scientific and technological activities mainly follow the traditional modes of project application, scientific experiment, social investigation, publication of papers, patent application, project acceptance and so on. However, due to the lack of market orientation and enterprise participation, and the prominent tendency of focusing on papers, patents and awards in scientific and technological evaluation, scientific and technological achievements are seriously divorced from practical needs, and scientific and technological achievements are difficult to be transformed into real productivity. In the future, we should innovate the achievement transformation mechanism, improve the transformation income distribution mechanism, and stimulate the endogenous power of all stakeholders; Innovate transformation methods, establish a list system of scientific and technological achievements, and develop various forms of docking and trading markets for scientific and technological achievements; Improve the management of promotion demonstration projects and improve the efficiency of the use of financial funds; Strengthen the construction of talent team for forestry science and technology popularization, and effectively improve the level of transformation of scientific and technological achievements.

Fifth, deepen the supply side structural reform of forestry, accelerate the optimization and upgrading of industrial structure, and comprehensively improve the quality of forest products. China is a large country producing forest products. The production capacity of wood-based panels, wooden furniture and other forest products ranks first in the world, but most products can only meet the middle and low-end demand. With the change of China’s population structure and the continuous expansion of middle-income groups, the consumption demand for high-quality forest products has increased significantly. However, due to the failure to adjust the forestry industrial structure and forest product structure in time, the phenomenon of “overproduction of middle and low-end forest products and insufficient supply of middle and high-end forest products” coexist at the same time. Therefore, we should take the opportunity of deepening the supply side structural reform of forestry, accelerate the standardization and quality system construction of forest products, and formulate a negative list of market access of forest products; Eliminate backward production capacity, reduce excess production capacity, and promote the supply system of forest products from medium and low-end products to medium and high-end products. Vigorously cultivate leading forestry enterprises and develop advantageous industrial clusters. On the basis of promoting the domestic circulation of forest products, drive the international circulation of forest products, and accelerate the construction of a market system of forest products that meets the requirements of the new development pattern of double circulation.

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