The Garden Route in South Africa’s Southern Cape has been severely damaged by run-away fires that spread through the area earlier this month.
The fire damaged nearly 30,000 hectares of land and that include large sections of commercial plantation.
Weeks after the fires, the terror caused by the tragedy is still raw in everyone’s minds.
South Africa’s forestry officials and Logging companies visited the forest to survey the latest damage.
Players in the logging industry lament the damage, though they remain hopeful they can still salvage something little, even if that comes from the charred logs.
“It is going to have a dire impact and it is going to be a long-term impact as well so there is going to have to be rationalization around capacity for processing and certainly the most obvious the most alternative uses and export opportunities need to be explored rather seriously and urgently,” said Lawrence Polking Horne, CEO MTO Group.
Focus will now shift to attempts to maximize the value of the burned timber, to ensure the industry players do not face complete losses.
The situation has prompted the timber exporters to seek wider markets that could take the charred logs, with China coming out as a potential market.
“We have had experience exporting into the Chinese market before, they take round logs from us, in this demanding times where there has been fire damage or fire impact you’ve got much smaller logs than what be deemed to be a normal exportable value or volume on a sized log so that is where we are going to be looking to increase or improve our opportunities to bring down the specifications to make sure there is a much broader spectrum available for export / but we have always really enjoyed dealing with the Chinese markets they have always been open to our exports,” Horne said.