International Forest Day falls on the exact same day as Human Rights Day in South Africa, so it’s mostly ignored.
This year, however, Forestry South Africa launched a brand-new, illustration-rich website called Forestry Explained. Aimed at people of all ages, this website has everything you ever wanted to know about forestry in our country.
It would take a good few hours to work it through, but we chose our five favourite facts regarding the forestry industry.
- Natural forests cover a third of all land on earth. As we know, trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, making the absolutely vital to our continued existence.
- Locally, only 0.4% of our landmass is covered by natural forest. That’s only 500 000ha, supported by 39 million hectares covered by savannah systems.
- There are three main types of trees that grow on South African plantations. They are pine (44%), Eucalyptus (44%) and wattle (12%).
- The South African forestry industry employs 158 000 people and is responsible for 11% of the country’s agricultural GDP and 5% of manufacturing GDP.
- There are around 26 000 timber growers in South Africa. These include the big multinational corporations, government and thousands of small-scale companies.