Lisbon, April 21 (Lusa) – The ban on planting new areas of eucalyptus in Portugal is a “huge loss to the Portuguese economy,” as well as having no technical or scientific basis, said the Portuguese Association of the Paper Industry, CELPA.
In an announcement published in the press on Friday, a day after the debate on forestry reform, the association criticises the Portuguese government’s decision to ban planting new areas of eucalyptus based on an “incorrect and preconceived idea.”
“The industrial segment based on eucalyptus has been able to make use of natural resources the country has […] using a well-adapted species, and has done so in an exemplary way, responsibly and with total respect for the environment,” said CELPA, adding that the ban, “is damaging to forestry producers, leads to loss of competitiveness of the pulp and paper industry and contracts the country’s economy.”
The association said the ban, “reduces managed areas, encourages abandonment and growth of scrubland and unused areas and will increase the risk of fires (49% of the area burned in the last 15 years was scrub or unused and 13% was eucalyptus),” “will not resolve the problem of other species,” and is likely to increase wood imports.
Based on eucalyptus, the Portuguese pulp and paper industry is “a leader in exports of high added value goods,” and therefore, “limiting the most important commodity for the paper industry dramatically affects its competitiveness and the country’s balance of trade,” as well as “destroying thousands of jobs.”
PL (FYS)/CA // CA