Salila, T. and Kärki, T. 2006. Mechanical Hardwood Processing Potential in New EU Countries. Baltic Forestry, 12 (2): 192-199

This paper describes the possibilities in recent associated EU-countries in the area of mechanical hardwood processing. The development potential is based on raw material resources and exploring production capacities. The main stress is focused on the broad-leaved species and the sawing industries. The country review is limited to the most significant ones concerning forestry and mechanical wood processing; therefore, Malta and Cyprus are not included. The production factors are collected from the European statistical office (Eurostat) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) databases. The first part of the statistical material is for the years 1998-2004. The 2004 figures were analysed by using a modified type of theoretical model for the timber market, which was multiplied by the common sawn timber yield. The results show that hardwood production has developed in all countries in the last few years. The biggest changes have occurred in the Baltic countries. Latvia and Estonia have developed most rapidly. During the last ten years they have doubled the sawn wood production. According to sawn hardwood production Latvia and Poland are the biggest producers. The biggest possibilities are also in these countries because of current high export figures. Comparing present situation towards reserves the most potential country seems to be Hungary.

Key words: Hardwood resources, transitional countries, development potential