The forest-based sector in Spain

Despite the considerable potential of the forest-based sector in Spain, there is still room for improvement. It should be noted that 68 % of the forest area belongs to private forest owners. The sector represents 1,4% of GDP and, whilst annual growth of forests currently exceeds 45,9 million m³, the logging rate is low: only 36,9% compared with the EU-27 average of 62,2%.

The Spanish forest-based sector, including forest owners, forestry companies, the pulp and paper industry, and the wood processing and furniture industries, has an overall annual turnover of €16 317 million and employs 121 026 people in 18 872 companies (press release INE, 2021, 2022).

The certified area is growing every year in both systems. In the FSC system, some 80 000 additional hectares were added in 2021, an increase of 22 % over 2021. The PEFC system has incorporated 56 000 hectares, increasing by 2,3 % compared to 2019.

Research & Innovation landscape

Spain has been working on numerous projects and R&D&I lines focused on sustainable forest management, new technologies, production efficiency, biodiversity conservation, improvement and promotion of the bioeconomy.

Some key topics in current forestry and wood sector research include:

  • Sustainable forest management: Spain has been focused on finding sustainable forest management practices that balance the conservation of natural resources with economic and social needs. Research to improve forest management practices and certification, as well as reducing the environmental impact of logging operations is very important;
  • Forest fire prevention: Given the vulnerability of many forest areas to fires, research has sought to improve forest fire prevention, monitoring and suppression techniques;
  • Biodiversity and conservation: Work has been carried out on studies to understand and conserve biodiversity in Spanish forest ecosystems;
  • Innovative products and technologies: Research on the development of new wood products and related technologies, such as laminated wood, modified wood products and sustainable construction systems;
  • Innovative uses of wood and forests products, bioeconomy: Exploration of opportunities to use wood-based products and forest residues in the production of bioproducts, bioenergy and other sustainable uses;
  • Production efficiency and circular economy: Development of techniques and technologies to improve efficiency in the production chain, from forest management to wood processing;
  • Digitalization and information technologies: Application of digital technologies for sustainable forest management, supply chain monitoring and improved efficiency in timber operations.