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Analyzing COVID-19’s impact on the forest industry

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Posted on August 11, 2020 | Industry News

Learn how the worldwide pandemic has affected the forest sector, and what it means for the future

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed behavior shifts and changes to supply and demand that have the potential to permanently alter the landscape of the forest industry.

For a start, the hyper-demand for certain products (such as masks, toilet paper, and paper towels) has highlighted the relevance of the industry. Other forest areas are seeing a decrease in activities due to supply disruptions, workforce safety concerns, and more.

COVID-19’s impact on the forest industry has also shown the increasing importance of technology that enables producers to increase efficiency, manage costs, and enhance mobility.

One thing is for certain: the forest industry will not go back to how it was before the pandemic. Instead, over the coming months and years it will adapt and trend towards a “new normal”.

Forest decision-makers who keep up with these changes and who understand the importance of upcoming challenges will come out on top to guide the industry forward.

Keep reading to learn more.

 

Key changes in the forest sector

COVID-19’s impact on the forest industry has had immediate consequences for forest owners, primarily due to the continued decline in wood runoff and sales caused by a currently interrupted wood supply chain.

Prices and volumes across all forest sectors have been affected. Generally, as the packaging, wood pallets (retail) and pulp for tissue and toilet paper sectors see stability or an increase, other sectors such as graphic paper, wood energy, construction, furniture and panel are seeing a decrease in activities.

As a result, sawmills in particular have been largely impacted. Meanwhile, other forest-based enterprises are learning ways to pivot by adapting their production chain to produce fiber protective material for sanitary use. [1]

 

Enhanced safety measures in the field

Forest industry employers have a responsibility to ensure that work is planned, coordinated, and conducted in a manner that limits worker exposure to COVID-19. [2] 

Potential workforce shortages—due to illness and travel restrictions—could impact forest cycle activities and this will be reflected along the value chain. Therefore, enhanced safety measures are critical to keep your teams safe and your operations on track.

Scientific studies show that the COVID-19 virus can survive for several days on contaminated surfaces. [3] For producers using paper forms to collect and manage information, this can pose a significant health risk to those in the field.

Forest management systems that utilize digital or electronic methods of information transfer can reduce this risk. By substituting the use of paper with digital tools to share maps and to communicate the reporting of field operations, forest producers can implement an effective strategy to keep field teams safe and, at the time, can increase communication.

 

The ever increasing importance of data

Now more than ever, developing a reliable, data-driven outlook is critical for the success of any investment.

The forest industry producers who emerge as leaders will be those who look at all the available data to make smarter decisions. A comprehensive forest management solution can help here by giving reliable access to all of your data, in real time.

 

In conclusion

COVID-19’s impact on the forest industry is set to continue for the foreseeable future. In changing times, keeping an eye on forest industry trends and closely monitoring your data is key.

To successfully navigate COVID-19 and beyond, forest producers need to ensure they’re utilizing all of the best technology tools that are available to them: both to reduce the risk of virus transmission, and to help make the most prudent decisions and thus increase productivity and maintain a competitive advantage.

 

by Antonio Carlos Tatagiba, CEO of INFLOR USA

 

How INFLOR can help you withstand COVID-19’s impact on the forest industry

Our forest management solutions help you nurture your investment by giving you all the tools and data you need to safely conduct operations in the field, gain better insights, and yield the best results.

We welcome you to explore our full suite of solutions and technology services.

 

Want to learn more?

Contact us today to get started.

 

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Sources:

1: Understanding Covid-19 impact on the forest sector | CEPF

2: Forestry field work and COVID-19 safety | WorkSafeBC

3: Stability and infectivity of coronaviruses in inanimate environments | NCBI

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