Galicia is a major forest power in Europe, not only because 47% of our territory is a highly productive wooded forest area, but also has a powerful forestry industry, contributing 57% of our cut wood each year in Spain. Sawmills, board production, pulp paper, woodwork, furniture factories…, Galicia is a national leader in PEFC certified responsible companies, guaranteeing its customers the legal and sustainable origin of certified forestry products.

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The resource

Two thirds of Galician territory is occupied by forests, which according to the results of the IV National Forest Inventory show a wooden stock in Galician forest of 192,914,041m3. In fact, monitoring the evolution of the forest requires greater inventory intensity and an adaptation of the methodology used, so the Consellería do Medio Rural of Xunta de Galicia is developing the “Inventario Forestal Continuo de Galicia” (Galician Continuous Forest Inventory). It will make it possible to know the actual availability of Galician forests, both technologically and economically.

According to the Galician Forestry Statistics Yearbook, in 2019, the whole use volume in Galician forests reached 9,703,422m³, of which 97% was conducted in privately managed forest, mainly in the provinces of Coruña and Lugo. 

Of the whole volume of wood, 39.15% were conifers, mainly Pinus Pinaster and Pinus Radiata, and 60.85% were hardwoods, of which 95.2% were Eucalyptus spp.  

In Galicia for each m³ of conifers, 1.55m³ of hardwoods pruning were used.

The PEFC forestry certification puts sustainable managed forests into value, as the growing demand by the forestry industry for raw materials with guarantees of legality and sustainability usually results in an increase in the prices of wood or any other certified forestry product.

Forests and forestry sector play a crucial role in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Forests and Human Wellbeing (SDG 1, 2, 3); Sustainable landscapes and food (SDG 2, 6); Equal opportunities, gender equality and possession (SDG 4, 5, 10, 16); Climate change, energy and low-carbon development (SDG 7, 13); Value, financing and investment chains (SDG 8, 9, 12); Forest management and restoration (SDG 14, 15).

The forestry industry

The forest is an essential part of the Galician economy, with a predominantly rural population and where most of the forestry and first processing companies are located, working in the forests of the area and with local people.

The main wood processing chain accounts for more than 12% of industrial employment, reaching more than 21,000 direct employees, of which 48% concerns the wood industry, 24% the forestry, 20% the furniture manufacture and 8% the paper industry (CNAE).

The forestry products processing and marketing sector is considered one of the strategic sectors for rural economic development and for the consolidation and diversification of its business network. The qualitative importance of the sector is enhanced by considering the many lateral chains and suppliers of equipment, complementary supplies, research services and related infrastructure. In this way, the increase in production in the main chain not only leads to increases in employment in that main branch, but also affects its employment as it demands intermediate consumption from other branches. 

The value chain structure exceeds 2,200 companies with an invoicing of about €2.2 billion.

In 52 of the 315 Galician councils, the forest-based industry accounts for more than 30% of the industrial establishments, so as you pass through Buxán and anywhere else on your Camino, you will find several forestry companies. Forest use, sawing, pulp paper and board activities have improved their turnover in recent years, also growing in the second transformation, especially driven by the contract segment.

The forestry sector has the opportunity to be a key player and facilitator of a circular bioeconomy.  

Innovation and technological improvement contribute to the opening of new markets, such as in the textile sector with the need to reduce the use of plastic materials, using cellulose products, obtaining ecological and reusable materials, advances in the use of new materials and composite in the automotive industry, what increases the consumption of biological materials based on wood, the bioenergy or in the field of construction, the use of wood as a structural element in Europe.

XERA, Axencia Galega da Industria Forestal (Agency for forest-based industry) established in 2017, aims to boost economic activity associated with the forestry industry, to improve the competitiveness and innovation of the companies in the forest sector and to coordinate research and technological centres linked to the forest industry.

As always, the importance of this economic activity is reflected in toponymy: if you come from Muxía, from the N, the forest is called “Monte do Serradoiro”.

The role of PEFC

The Chain of custody certification PEFC allows supply chain companies to ensure to their customers the legal and sustainable origin of certified forestry products.

It also provides a range of benefits that help the environment, people and businesses, such as access to new markets and law enforcement.

n order to obtain certification, companies must comply with, among others, the PEFC standard of Chain of custody of forestry products, and must develop and implement procedures to control the purchase, monitoring, manufacture, sale, labelling, record-keeping of certified materials, and pass annual audits by an independent third party.

Certified companies can use the PEFC label on certified products and promotional and corporate materials, such as brochures, catalogues or on the website, allowing them to communicate responsible practices to their customers.

There are different modalities of certification of the Chain of custody which is adapted according to the size of the company or project. PEFC Group Certification is a practical solution to make certification feasible for legally independent small companies.

Galicia is a national leader in PEFC certified companies. See our numbers.

12. Vaosilveiro
14. Fisterra

Initiative promoted by the program “O teu Xacobeo” of the Xunta de Galicia