The government’s stringent restrictions on the issuing of forestry and planting permits has led to a timber shortage. About 70% of the sawn timber in SA is used for construction purposes. The rest is used in the furniture sector, the joinery sector and the packaging sector, with a little also going into industrial use. Executive director of Sawmilling SA Roy Southey said the government introduced the restrictions about 20 years ago in light of dwindling water resources. "The development of forestry needs to be well controlled and fairly managed. "This resulted in a marked decline in the establishment of forests in SA as the authorities tried to find the best way to balance the need for timber and the need for water and other environmental considerations." As the economy of the country grew, the establishment of forests lagged behind. Due to a shortage of suitable land, it is estimated SA will have to import nearly half its pine structural wood requirement within the next two decades...

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