Recession in 1970ís forced closures of domestic fibre and particleboard plants and pulp wood industry. Prices of imported timber products, chipboard softwood, sawn timber, were very low; also there was dumping of pulpwood at reduced prices onto world markets.
Imports of pulp and waste paper, £5,667 m, quantity being 35,842 tons cubed.
Exports of same £2,147. 38, quantity being 38,140 tons cubed and much lower quality.
The affluent society consumes vast quantities of paper, you have an increasing population in the world all using paper. The underdeveloped areas are becoming developed and are also chasing the market for their share.
Paper is particularly needed for educational purposes. F.A.O. and UNO predict a crisis point about the year 2000 which will create a very serious problem which will hit the 3rd world countries most. It will hit them worst at the educational side. It will be too expensive to use copybooks, schoolbooks and so on. The demand for timber will keep on. To prepare ourselves for that, we should be planting 50 000 acres of timber every year. We should be ready to come on stream by the year 2010 or 2020 with good supplies of timber pulp for paper and we should develop and build up our secondary industries to deal with it, (financial report for government from this time)
Within the E.U. the demand for timber is expected to increase twice as fast as wood production. There is a substantial long-term market for forest products adjacent to Ireland. The CAS report makes the case that wood prices can be expected to rise by at least 30% in the period 1980-2000.
State contracts to supply pulpwood to commercial factories were also being criticized on the grounds that details of the contracts were not being made public. It is noteworthy that Smurfits, one of the largest Industrial concerns in the country, is also one of the largest Private investors in the Irish forest Industry, concentrating on the utilization side. It had ploughed £10m of its shareholders funds into the business through its Woodfab offshoot.
The Smurfit expansion in sawmilling in 1985, in spite of recession and layoffs in sawmilling industry was pursuing a strategy already outlined. By 1990 only 4 large mills were in operation with the bulk of the smaller mills wiped out. By this stage, however the amount of timber from state owned forests will be truly massive and woodfab (Smurfit owned) will be waiting to clean up on this harvest. The company is ideally placed at Fermoy and Aughrim. In Northern Ireland 1970ís, actively discouraged establishing more chipboard factories, which might utilize small diameter material in the short term, but would effectively prevent the build up raw material to satisfy a pulp mill by the end of the century.
A statistic from 1927, U.S.A. has considerable implications for a world faced simultaneously with a universal timber shortage and a rapidly increasing demand for paper from the 3rd world. 36 000 cords of wood are needed to produce this magazine for a year Ė a cord= 4.74 cubic feet of pulpwood to the acre. 692 Acres will yield 36 000 cordís. Paper consumption is increasing with unbelievable rapidity. Nations today are concentrating on softwoods because the lumber value of this tree (the Sitka spruce) almost dwindles besides its yield of precious fibres from which the wood pulp known as sulphite is obtained (cellulose).