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Maderas. Ciencia y tecnología

versión On-line ISSN 0718-221X

Maderas, Cienc. tecnol. vol.16 no.2 Concepción mayo 2014  Epub 19-Mar-2014




Wood-based panels industry in Turkey: future raw material challenges and suggestions 


Hasan Tezcan Yildirim 1,♠, Zeki Candan2, Süleyman Korkut3

1Department of Forest Engineering, Istanbul University, Istanbul, 34473 Turkey.
2Department of Forest Products Engineering, Istanbul University, Istanbul, 34473 Turkey.
3Department of Forest Products Engineering, Düzce University, Düzce, 81620 Turkey.

In memoriam of Dr. Manfred SCHWANNINGER

Corresponding author


World production of wood based panel has grown from 63,1 million cubic meters in 2005 to 75,5 million m3 in 2009, a 12 million m3 rise in production. China is the world's largest wood based panel’s manufacturer. The Turkish wood based panels industry has shown a tendency of fluctuating during this time. Turkey, as the world’s 4th largest producer of wood based panels, is an important contributor to the industry. Turkey has made great strides in the last 20 years in the forest products industry. Both the development of new materials and techniques of domestic and international market demand have played a decisive role. Turkey's wood panel production has gone from 100000 m3 in the early 2000s, to 5,5 million m³ of production in 2010. The sector's total production capacity is approximately 9 million m³. The results obtained thus far indicate that the Turkish wood based panel industry demand for raw material is not being met by the GDF's chip wood fiber production. Where the raw material supply problem in the industry, as well as the problems encountered in the forest and on the basis of the villagers living adjacent to, not to the time of product problems related to storage and transportation of raw materials and other related problems are bottlenecks. We examine problems related to the provision of raw materials and raw materials research, the need for future estimates of the level at which the world and close to the periphery countries will be examined, wood composite panel production and trade policy recommendations will be developed. 

Keywords:  Wood based panels industry, forest industry, forest products, forest products policy, forest villagers.



The forest products industry has been an inevitable propelling power of economy since olden times (Mahapatra and Mitchell 1997, Ok 2005, Ilter and Ok 2007, Paul and Chakrabarti 2011). Thus, industrial use of wood is important from the past through today. Use of wood as an industrial material is perceived as a source of income for wood producers (Cubbage et al. 2007, Toppinen and Kuuluvainan 2010, Damette and Delacote 2011). Meeting wood demand is of great importance to the forestry sector. The fact that the wood demand is still being met via illegal methods today highlights the relevance of sustainable forest management, specifically the practice of certification for industrial wood production (Schanz 2002, Hetemäki and Nilsson 2005, Krott 2005, Ingold and Zimmermann 2011). The board sector of the wood industry has made a giant leap forward, especially in the last ten years. The most important reason for this progress is the fact that the economic value of wood decreases when used in its unaltered form (Yildirim 2010, Espinoza et al. 2011, Zhou et al. 2012). In recent years the use of wood-based panels such as fiberboard, particleboard, oriented strandboard, plywood etc., for several applications has been gaining great importance due to their properties (Ustaömer and Usta 2012).

Worldwide board production fluctuated between 2005 and 2009 with an increase from 63,1 million m³ in 2005 to 75,5 million m³ in 2009. The world’s largest board producer, China, fulfills 45% of worldwide board production alone. The USA, Germany and Turkey follow China, which produced 34,5 million m³ of boards in 2009. As the 4th largest board producer worldwide, Turkey is an important country for the sector (Yildirim 2010). From this perspective, it is essential to discuss the current status of the sector and that of the resources owned by Turkey.

According to the latest forest inventory research and management plans made by forestry organization, Turkey has a total of 21,2 million ha of forested area (which corresponds to 25% of country's surface area). Of these 21,2 million ha, it is estimated that 10,1 million serve an economic function 10,4 million serve an ecologic function, and 0,7 million ha serve social functions (General Directorate of Forestry (GDF), 2006). Fifteen million ha of forests are groves while 6 million ha are coppice woodlands. Around 60% of the forests are normal while 40% is degraded forests. Over 99% of the Country's forests are owned by the state while the surface area of forests owned by public legal persons is approximately 7986 ha. The surface area of forests owned by the private sector, exclusive of special afforestation practices using poplar and other species, is 10182 ha. According to GDF's data (2008), total growing stock of Turkey's forests is 1,2 billion m3 in normal forests and 0.8 billion m3 in degraded forests. Average growing stock per unit area for normal forests is 112,5 m3/ha and 8,28 m3/ha for degraded forests. While the growth of Turkey’s forests was 36,3 million m3, the yearly allowable cut given in management plans was 16,3 million m3. Increase is 3,34 m3/ha totals in normal forests in unit surface area and 0,23 m3/ha total in degraded forests. A major portion of industrial wood production consists of small diameter and low value product (fiber-chip, wood for paper production and industrial wood). First and second class rate in lumber, which is also classified as industrial wood, is calculated to be 3% (GDF 2008). It is estimated that in Turkey, 150000 to 200000 ha is used for growing poplar, approximately 3,0- 3,5 million m3 is used for meeting the industrial wood requirement annually, and 2 million m3 is used as firing wood (Kaplan 2008).

For the purpose of meeting the total wood requirement, GDF supplies 12-13 million m3 wood from their sales to the market, 2-3 million m3 is produced by the private sector, and 2.3 million m3 is supplied to the market via imports (GDF 2011). The remaining balance of 4-5 million m3 is known to be supplied illegally. Although some substitute materials, such as metallics and synthetics, are widely used today, this does not mitigate the need for wood products. To the contrary, consumption of wood products is rapidly increasing with increasing worldwide economic development and population growth (Birler 1998, Ekizoglu 2008, Toppinen and Kuuluvainan 2010, Yildirim 2010, Erol 2012). The board sector of the forest industry is of great importance for Turkey. While wood can be an export item once processed, new factories are opened and new employment opportunities arise as the sector grows. 

Turkey has achieved major progress in the forest industry, especially in the last 20 years. The board sector is at the forefront of this progress. Both the development of new material techniques and the demand in domestic and international markets have had decisive roles in such progress (Ekizoglu and Yildirim 2011). Turkey's board production was 100000 m3 in early 2000s, production increased to 5,5 million m3 level as of 2010. There are 40 facilities in the sector, 24 of which produce chip board while 16 facilities produce fiber board. Total production capacity of the sector is approximately 9 million m³. Rapid development of the sector has certain complications. In a general sense, these complications are as follows (Ekizoglu 1985, Zengin 2009, Yildirim, 2010). 

Raw Material Issue

The single biggest cost factor for the chip board and fiber board industry is wood material. Accordingly, raw material issues are among the most important problems for the industry. As an example, the actual capacity of chip board industry requires approximately 7824000 m3 raw materials and the fiber board industry requires10676000 m3 for an overall raw material requirement of around 18500000 m3. This will pave the way for imports, which in turn cause losses to the country's economy. Import raw material requirement of the board sector, which suffers a raw material shortage in the current situation, will increase after these investments. 

Purpose of Use Issues

 The chip board and fiber board industries are able to use raw materials of both high and low quality. The quality of raw material used in these sectors is close to that used in the paper industry. Firing wood and waste raw materials of other forest products can be used in the board industry at certain proportions. However, the fact that raw material suitable for use by the chip board and fiber board sectors is being distributed to forest villagers for firing wood gives rise to an important raw material problem for the board industry.

Transportation Issue

Transportation, namely freight transportation, causes two problems for board sector. First is the inability of transporting raw materials. Second is the fact that transportation is a cost factor that increases the overall cost of raw materials. Transportation's contribution to overall cost increases with the transportation distance. Although exact percentages are unknown, increasing raw material costs result in an increase in final product prices which make it difficult to achieve stability in market prices.

Technical Personnel Issue

The fact that forest industry engineers in particular do not have a sufficient level of material knowledge by the time of graduation causes major problems in the factory work environment. It is not possible for employers to cover up such insufficiencies of engineers, and therefore providing employment opportunities in production lines of work to forest industry engineers becomes more difficult.

The purpose of this study is to project the future demand of raw materials based on government past board sector data to bring solutions and recommendations to known issues. Two distinct scenarios were developed for the purpose of demand projection. While only the yearly change was considered in the first scenario, anticipated demand calculated on the basis of socio-economic variables was considered in the second scenario.


Cases where a dependent variable can be calculated using a single independent variable is very rare. In particular, the planning and management of forest resources is multi-dimensional in nature. Accordingly, multidimensional decision taking methods are suitable for the structure of forest resources and more substantial decisions and solution propositions are possible when these methods are used (Dasdemir and Güngör 2002). The most widely used and most suitable technique for multidimensional decision taking methods, as well as in forestry studies, is regression (Altunisik et al. 2002, Yazicioglu and Erdogan 2004, Kalayci 2006). A multi-dimensional linear regression model was used to analyze the data of this research. Future demand was estimated for raw wood materials used in board production via multiple regressions. Moreover, wood requirement was determined considering Turkey's current board production and predictions on the amount of raw materials to be needed in the future are listed.

In the event of a linear relationship (Y=a+bx) between an independent variable and a dependent variable, the forecast method will be presented as a linear equality. Mathematical formula is obtained based on the previous year’s values of the dependent variable with the help of a linear relation formula to bring out the relationship between independent and dependent variables.  On the other hand, if the relationship between dependent and independent variables or the time series formed, is parabolic (Y=a+/-bx+/-cx2), then the forecast method used will be parabolic equality (Kalipsiz 1994, Kalayci 2006, Ilter and Ok 2007). This way, in the first stage, independent variable values are defined which will be used to explain the dependent variable values in coming years, and industrial demand forecasts are determined by using the values of independent variables in the second stage. A Dublin-Watson test was used to determine if there is any auto correlation between the variables for linear regression analysis (Kalayci 2006, Ilter and Ok 2007). A calculated value near to zero indicates a positive correlation, while a value such as 2 indicates no correlation, and a value such as 4 indicates negative correlation (Şencan 2005, Altunisik et al. 2007).

The socioeconomic variables used in this study included the amount of industrial wood production used in board production between 1980 and 2010 (WP), population (PPL), Gross Domestic Product per capita in US dollars on basis of current producer prices (GDP$), and number of completed buildings (NoCB). Data pertaining to these variables were taken from General Directorate of Forestry (GDF), Turkish Statistical Institute (TSI), Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and State Planning Agency and are given in table 1 below.


Table 1. Values of independent variables between 1980 and 2010.

"Significant (Sig.)" variables with values that exceed 0,001 or 0,05 must be removed from the model. However, because we believe removal of these variables would affect the basis of the study, we included all the independent variables in the model. Analysis of all models were made using SPSS 16.0 software suit.


Multi linear regression modeling has been used to forecast the industrial wood production demand. Data, obtained from time series and mathematical methods, has been used to form this model. Industrial wood production demand quantities were estimated by adding the forecasted values of independent variables on the basis model which belong to the years of 2011-2023 into their place in demand forecast model. Simple regression models and the models were calculated with the help of MS Excel. Based on changes in the population, gross domestic product per capita in US dollars on basis of current producer prices and number of completed buildings according to years, and that are simple regression formulas in figure 1a, figure 1b and figure 1c.





Figura 1. (a) Population changes and its simple regression model; (b) Gross Domestic Product changes and its simple regression model; (c) Number of completed buildings changes and its simple regression model.

Their values are determined from the 2011-2023 models with the help of the variables shown in table 2. In table 2, R2 values, Durbin-Watson values, F value, significant value, T value (t test), regression formulas, and forecasted values are displayed for the period of 2011-2023. 

Table 2. Forecast values of the variables used for predicting of industrial wood production demand quantity (2011-2023)


Multiple regression method was used in order to determine the board production volume and future demand. The percentage of the independent variables' ability to explain the dependent variable is given in table 3.

Table 3. Model Summary.

a. Predictors: (Constant), PPL, GDP$, NoCB
b. Dependent Variable: WP


We see that independent variables explain the dependent variable by 80.9% in the model regression analysis summary to determine the amount of industrial wood needed for board production. The model's significance level is 0,000 which indicates there is a significant correlation (at 0,001 levels) between independent variables included in the model and dependent variable. The model for purpose of determining the industrial wood production volume was formulated based on the data given in table 4.

Table 4. Model data used in projection of industrial wood production volume.


In accordance with the data given in table 4, industrial wood production model is formulated as follows. 

Y=8951462,088-0049* PPL+651333* GDP$-7,703* NoCB


With the help of this formula, it is understood that industrial wood production is directly correlated to changes in population and Gross Domestic Product and inversely correlated to number of completed buildings. Independent variables' values for years between 2011 and 2023 have been calculated using simple regression and used in corresponding years in multiple regressions analysis models. Industrial wood production volume was found on basis of these calculations and given in table 5.

Table 5. Projection of industrial wood production in the future

According to Chip Board Industrialists Association (2012) data Chip Board Factories in Turkey have an established capacity of 17427 m3/day and an actual daily production of 14437 m3 (5269505 m3 per year). On the other hand, capacity of established and active fiberboard mills is 13,645 m3/day (4980425 m3/year). The yearly wood requirement for active capacities (as opposed to that of the established capacities) is 10,4 million m3 of wood for chip board. Likewise, wood needed for fiber board is 15 million m3. Therefore, Turkey's wood requirement for the board sector alone is approximately 25 million m3. Current production volume is 11.3 million m3 in our calculations and 7 million m3 firewood that totally 18 million m3. Turkey has to use imports for forest industry sector. It is understood that this volume is insufficient today and a production of such limited volume will not meet future requirements for wood based panels industry.


Recommendations to alleviate the problems encountered in board production, and predictions on the future, are given below in light of the findings of the study:

In order to meet the industrial wood demand, it is essential to carry out initial demand forecasts and to revisit forecasts each year.

Industrial plantation operations for the purpose of meeting the needs of forest industry must be accelerated as the demand will increase in the future.

Generalization of sustainable forest management and certification practices and prediction of future certified wood demand are essential.

New practices to increase the productivity of Turkey's forests must be accelerated. Silvicultural practices, which are of great relevance in meeting the quantitative wood demands of the forest industry in particular, must be prioritized. In this context, shortening the management periods, especially in relation to red pine, can be considered as an option.

It is essential to identify areas to be used for wood production in the scope of functional planning, to carry out practices in accordance with such planning, and to review management plans.

We shouldn't delay in fulfilling the requirements of sustainable forest management and international processes must be considered while deciding on wood production policies.

Material knowledge, management and organization issues must have greater focus in education of Forest Industry Engineers.

Allocations made for forest villagers must be reviewed with due consideration to the future of the forest industry.

Because the raw material requirements of the sector will increase due to new initiatives in the future, both the private sector and state must launch afforestation practices, in particular using quick developing species, nearby factories of large capacities. Red Pine and Poplar, which are able to adapt in Turkey's conditions, may be preferred as quick developing species.

Furthermore another important result presented that the content of legal arrangements is less comprehensive than national plans and programs.

While 18,4% of the total assessed expressions take place in legal based documents and the rests are observed in 9th Development Plan Forestry Expert Commission Report and National Forestry Program.

Then it could be suggested that the legal background of the forestry oriented rural development issues should be strengthened and enriched.



The authors are grateful for the support of the Istanbul University Scientific Research Projects, Grant. No. N-18864


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  Corresponding author:

 Received: 02.12. 2012 Accepted: 18.07. 2013

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