TIMBER AND TIMBER PRODUCTS Forestry in Turkey has a well­established past that extends back to the Ottoman Empire. In that period the forests were considered to be an endowment from God. Therefore sustainable management of forests is an old tradition in Turkey.

Since the concept of sustainable management of forests has changed considerably, forestry in Turkey is changing fast to adapt itself to the new concept. The total area of Turkey is 77,6 million hectares and 27,2 % of this area, which is an area of 21,2 million hectares, is forests. A total of 54,4% of the forests in Turkey is of needled (coniferous) trees and 45,6% is of broad­leaved trees. At present the forests were classified as state forest, public forest, private forest and foundation forest.

The forests have been divided into three categories in terms of quality and character; protected forests, national parks and productive forests. In Turkey, about half of the forests are productive forests and in that area, in the past three years, an annual average of 11 million m³ of industrial wood and 12 million m³ of firewood have been produced. Industrial wood production is mainly directed to the manufacturing of logs, wood­based panels (plywood, blackboard, particle board, MDF, HDF, and OSB), pulpwood and other wood industries. The Turkish timber industry is a substantial sector for economic development, especially for rural employment.

The sector consists of different traded commodities including logs, sawn timber, veneers, panel products, such as MDF, OSB and plywood, mouldings, doors and door frames, windows and window frames, parquetry, building material components etc. The wood processing industry, excluding furniture, is concentrated mainly in İstanbul, İzmir, Bursa, Ankara, Balıkesir, and Antalya. According to the recent General Census of Industry and Business Establishments (2002), the sector of timber and timber products employs 79,351 people and the industry has 29,052 companies manufacturing various products. Moreover capacity data of the Union of Chambers of Commerce and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) reports 9 companies with over 250 employees and 42 companies with over 100 employees. Besides, İstanbul Chamber of Industry’s list of the top 500 industrial establishments of Turkey has six companies producing timber products.

These companies are Yıldız Entegre Ağaç San. ve Tic. A.Ş, Kastamonu Entegre Ağaç Sanayi ve Tic. A. Ş., Starwood Orman Ürünleri Sanayi A.Ş., Yıldız Sunta MDF Orman Ürünleri Sanayi Tesisleri İth. İhr. ve Tic. A.Ş., Çamsan Ağaç San. ve Tic. A.Ş., and AGT Ağaç Sanayi ve Tic. Ltd. Şti. Today, the sector produces both in workshops and in industrial­scale manufacturing units. The production of timber and timber products is highly fragmented among a large number of small workshops. These small workshops play an important role in production. Large­ scale producers, especially wood­based panel firms, produce standard items by using automated mass­production techniques and most of their production is oriented towards export.

The timber and timber products industry is greatly dependent on the activities of the building and furniture industry and at present these two sectors are very dynamic in the Turkish economy. Their growth has also had a positive impact on the production and export of timber and timber products.

The Turkish contracting sector, with the above US$ 20 billion value added, is one of the major sectors exporting service. Turkish contractor companies that have undertaken construction works domestically and abroad have completed many housing complexes, tourism projects, hospitals and health center projects. In most of these buildings, Turkish timber and timber products are used. Turkish furniture is designed and made from the highest quality materials to ensure comfort, performance and a long­lasting attractive appearance. Timber and timber products manufacturers and exporters are aware of the fact that the quality of timber products plays an important role in the production of furniture, which is a very strong sector in Turkey.

Turkey’s timber and timber products exports have an upward trend in the last five years. The sector exports notable amounts of products as well as meets the local demand. In the  last five years, the exports of Turkish timber and timber products increased from US $  181.4  million  in  2004  to  roughly  US  $  482.2  million  in  2008.  This  is  mainly  due  to improvements  in  technology  and  therefore  quality.  The  main  export  products  are:  fiberboard,  particleboard,  builders’  joinery  and  carpentry  wood,  including  cellular  wood panels, assembled parquet panels, shingles and shakes.  In 2008 Turkey exported timber and timber products to 114 countries throughout the world.  The  main  markets  for  timber  products  exports  are  Iran,  Georgia,  Azerbaijan,  Iraq,  the  Russian Fed and Bulgaria.  Today with quality and mass production capacity, the Turkish timber and timber products  industry is able to satisfy the requirements of all individual markets all over the world. With  increasing investment and improvement of raw materials, the output and export of sector products are expected further increase.