The PricewaterhouseCoopers study on the social, economic, and climate impact of the forestry sector and wood-based industries in Romania was commissioned by the Romanian Association of the Wood Industry – Prolemn.

The total contribution of the forestry sector and wood-based industries has reached 9.86 billion Euros annually, taking into consideration both the direct impact, which has grown steadily over the last five years, as well as the indirect and induced effects. The potential for growth is high, as it is shown in the report “The socio-economic and climate impact of the forestry sector and wood-based industries in Romania”, published by PwC Romania at the request of the Romanian Association of the Wood Industry – Prolemn. At the same time, the sector and its related industries contribute to the national budget 3.2 billion Euros, in the form of tax revenues and social health insurance contributions, and support more than 330,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs.

The direct contribution of forestry and wood-based industries was, in 2020, 1.6% of GDP, while the total impact of economic activities, which also includes indirect and induced effects, is much higher, reaching 4 .5% of GDP. If we consider that the degree of afforestation is 29% of the surface, below the EU average of 38%, and that there are about 2 million hectares of unused land areas, which have neither agricultural use nor for forests, as well as the fact that other states from the European Union register a direct contribution to GDP about three times higher than Romania, it means that our country has an important resource for afforestation, and a particular growth potential for wood-based industries.

Dinu Bumbăcea

Country Managing Partner , PwC Romania

According to European statistics, Romania harvests a commercial volume of 33% of the total annual forest growth, while the European average is around 63%, and the top three countries harvest close to or even over 100%. The total production of lumber, of only 2.3 cubic meters of commercial round wood per hectare, is among the lowest in Europe. Countries with similar conditions to Romania have a much higher harvest index (Poland 4.6 mc/year/ha, Austria 4.9 mc/year/ha, Germany 6.8 mc/year/ha).

Approximately one third of the harvested wood is used as fuel for heating, which places Romania among the countries with a high consumption of firewood for heating, being surpassed only by France among the countries with a higher production than Romania.

The more than 14,900 active companies in the forestry sector and wood-based industries generated a turnover of more than 9.7 billion euros in 2021 (more than 20 pp compared to the previous year, mainly due to increased prices), and exports of more than 7% of Romania’s total exports, with a total net foreign exchange contribution of around 2.2 billion Euros for both the wood processing industry and the furniture industry respectively, with relatively equal weights.

The forest sector contributes to achieving climate goals by sequestering carbon dioxide

Beyond the economic impact, the forestry sector contributes to the achievement of the objectives assumed by Romania for the reduction of net CO2 emissions. The impact of the forest-timber sector in fighting climate change is annually equivalent to more than 50 tonnes of CO2 retained or avoided emissions, if we take into account the emissions saved from avoiding the use of fossil fuels for residential heating, the use of wood products which substitute other materials with a higher carbon footprint, such as plastic, non-biodegradable packaging, concrete or steel.

Thus, measures such as afforestation of unused agricultural land, increasing the collection rate of wood-based waste and the use of biomass are solutions that can increase these figures and, at the same time, can be a solution to the energy crisis triggered in the current geopolitical context, in which the supply of natural gas is uncertain, and the price of gas is more than double that of biomass, the report also states.

The summary of the study can be consulted by accessing the buttons below.