A Forestry Contractor Association in the Netherlands?
Yes indeed! It exists!
How is that possible in a country below sea level without any significant forest?
We should not exaggerate, but there is a very lively and active association with nearly 80 entrepreneurs in the round wood sector. The association is named Algemene Vereniging Inlands Hout (Homegrown Timber Ass.) and has existed since the early fifties of the last century.
The baseline for the activities of the members is of course the Dutch forest area which encompasses some 320.000ha and accounts for an annual harvest of ca. 1.2 million m³ of round wood. Main species are Scots pine plus some Douglas fir, larch and spruce. Poplar accounts for the bigger volume from broadleaved species, together with some oak and beech. Ash and maple are of minor importance. The forest ownership is roughly divided into 1/3 private, 1/3 government and 1/3 nature conservancy.
All companies along the forest value chain from forest to round wood processing industries can be member of AVIH. Forest consultants, forestry contractors, round wood trade and sawmills and two paper mills belong to the membership. Members from the association are interested in doing business: both the execution of all kind of forestry work (incl. for instance the clearing of storm damage in Sweden, Germany, France and Belgium), the buying and selling of round wood and delivery of sawn goods and products for paper industry, panel industry and biomass for the energy sector. There is considerable experience of modern harvesting techniques and logistics and the import/export of roundwood to places outside Europe as well.
The binding element in the interest of the various members is entrepreneurship in forest and wood. That’s what the AVIH stands for when defending the interests of its members. From this position AVIH has no problem talking with the industry, forest owners or government. Important issues that affect the operations of all members are the national Forest Policy and the national implementation of European guide lines like the Bird Directive and Habitat Directive. In forest policy we feel that too many forest owners become oriented on impulses from nature conservancy instead from the market. That leads to a focus on home grown timber species and, in spite of its name, AVIH thinks that “exotic” species like Douglas and red oak are a very welcome contribution to the production value. The way the bird directive has been explained in the Netherlands leads to a near stop in harvesting operations from March to July. As a reaction the members became much more active in the forests in Germany and Belgium. Cross border operation and qualification of forest contractors is therefore an important issue for the Association.
The market model in the Netherlands is adapted to the forest ownership and the forest, with many small forest owners who by nature are not professional forest managers, and with forests that consist of small blocks of an intimate mix of species in a multi story structure. The processing industry within the Netherlands consists of many small saw mills and a few vary modern ones (national sawing capacity some 700.000 m³) plus two paper mills. It should not be forgotten that the market for Dutch roundwood is just as easy in Germany and Belgium. Deliveries for particle board, MDF, OSB and pulp and biomass are easily taken into account. As everywhere, the enlargement in the industry concentrates demand whereas supply from the forest owner is scattered and not professional. In such a market the model of standing sales has shown to be a very effective one. The professionalism of the round wood trade that buys the standing timber is matched on a very competitive way to the professionalism of hauliers and forest machine operators. Some times they are on the pay roll of the round wood contractor, but very often they work as specialised forestry contractor with some machines.
Forestry contractors are mostly hired by the roundwood buyer, sometimes by the sawmill and sometimes by the forest owner. In fact the latter is limited to the national forest service which accounts for nearly 1/3 of the annual harvest.
The AVIH has a mean and lean representation which is 100% financed by the membership fees. A chairman and secretary plus an office are available full time, not only for AVIH but also for two other associations in the forest and wood working industry. The associations share the costs.
The office is based in the centre of the Netherlands. Communication with the members is by telephone, email, e-letter on regular basis, and at least twice a year a general assembly with an excursion. When necessary, a special evening meeting is organised.
AVIH’s web site: www.avih.nl is only fully accessible in the Dutch language (sorry for that inconvenience). For an insight into data related to Dutch forestry - click on ‘Kennis A-Z bos’, for wood from Dutch forests - click on ‘Kennis A-Z Inlands Hout’ and for some economic data on the structure of the sector - click on ‘Kennis A-Z Rondhouthandel’.
Members from the association are interested in doing business: both the execution of all kind of forestry work (incl. for instance the clearing of storm damage), the buying and selling of round wood and delivery of sawn goods and products for paper industry, panel industry and biomass for the energy sector. There is considerable experience with modern harvesting techniques and logistics and the import/export of (round)wood.
With a visit to the list of members you can find all the contact details of the members and you can make a selection of the capabilities that are of interest to you.
Whenever you need any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.