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Wood, Paper, Printing

Wood and other forest products and services

Wood - boreal, temperate and tropical; coniferous and non-coniferous

Most of the EU forests are boreal (northern) forests, typified by a few, mainly coniferous tree species, or temperate, having a variety of mainly broadleaved tree species in the lowlands with more conifers in the uplands. The tree species give rise to the various different woods which grow but broadly speaking, wood is classified as being coniferous or non-coniferous, boreal, temperate or tropical. Naturally, tropical trees do not grow in the EU, except in the French overseas Departments.

Non-wood Forest Products & Services (NWFP)


In many regions of the EU and elsewhere, non-wood forest products and services can be important for livelihoods. In the EU a very significant example is cork, which is produced from cork oak trees (Quercus suber). These are usually cultivated in a widely spaced fashion interlaced with grazing, known as a "dehesa", but natural cork-oak forests also grow, usually in a mixture with evergreen oaks and wild olives. Cork trees are concentrated in Portugal, the world's biggest producer of cork material and Spain, with some production in France, Italy and Greece. Cork material, which is the outer bark of the tree is usually stripped from the age of about 22 years and thereafter every nine years, depending on local conditions (for more information, please see the following websites: Directorate General for Agriculture, Directorate General for Regional Policy, Cork Institute of Technology).


This is another non-wood product harvested as the sap of coniferous trees, usually pines, collected by making cuts in the bark and placing a receptacle below the cuts, in the same way that natural rubber is collected. In former times, collection was much more wide-spread as a source of chemicals, varnishes and solvents. Now it is more limited to some Mediterranean districts for traditional uses. Resin collection reduces tree growth but also fire risk.

Tall Oil

This is a specific residue from chemical pulping processes which is a rich source of natural chemicals for paints, varnishes and medicinal compounds. Recent increased in the demand for renewable energy have stepped up the competition for tall oil as a raw material (for more information, please see the website of Arizona Chemicals).


This is a natural medicine from the bark of yew trees, having cancer-fighting properties. Now that it can be artificially synthesised, yew trees are seldom targeted for illegal felling.

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