Sappi Forests owns or leases 379,000 ha with approximately 27.6 million tons of standing timber. Contracted supply comprises a further 129,000 ha. Our Lomati Sawmill produces 102,000 m3 per annum of sawn timber for the construction and furniture manufacturing industry.
All wood grown on Sappi-owned land and a large proportion grown on plantations managed by us, is Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)-certified. Approximately 138,000 ha of our land is set aside and maintained by Sappi Forests to conserve the natural habitat and biodiversity found there, including indigenous forests and wetlands.
We have identified investment in low-cost wood as both a growth driver and a strategic resource in order to supply our operations and to secure our margins in competitive commodity markets, such as dissolving wood pulp (DWP). To this end we continue to work with local government and communities to accelerate afforestation in KwaZulu-Natal and the northern region of the Eastern Cape. This development not only provides one of the only sources of income and jobs to these local communities, but will also secure valuable hardwood timber resources close to our Saiccor Mill in KwaZulu-Natal.
In addition to Sappi’s own plantation area, we continue to identify ways to ensure access to pulpwood in the wood baskets close to our key operations, by means of land or timber delivery swaps.
The plantation industry in South Africa faces an increasing threat from pests and diseases. Sappi Forests, a leader in research and development (R&D), continues to mitigate these risks through improved site species matching, the deployment of improved genetic planting stock and the introduction of specific hybrids from our conventional breeding programmes.
The construction of the state of the art Clan Nursery, with a capacity of 17 million cuttings (vegetatively propagated plants), and the upgrade of the Ngodwana Nursery, provides Sappi Forests with the required facilities to rapidly deploy the improved genetic planting stock to mitigate these threats.
Sappi’s activities offer the rural poverty areas in South Africa an economic life line. One of the ways we promote prosperity in the broader community is through Sappi Khulisa (previously known as 'Project Grow'), a community tree farming project which has successfully uplifted impoverished communities in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Our objective is to provide consistent and clear guidelines and assistance to Sappi’s contracted growers, to ensure the sustainable development and protection of our forests for future generations. Sappi’s ‘Tree Farming Guidelines for Private Growers’ cover topics such as species selection and planting through to harvesting and extraction, and also provide much needed information on fundamental issues such as safety and proper planning and scheduling processes.
The manual is divided into four sections and the different chapters in each section can be downloaded in PDF-format by clicking on the relevant links below. A copy of the guidelines is also available free of charge on CD-ROM. Please contact Sandra Holder on +27 (0)33 347 6629 or Sandra.Holder@sappi.com in this regard.