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Action Areas – The Economy

The South African forestry and forest products sector employs more than 150 000 people, with nearly 700 000 people dependent on the sector for their livelihoods. In addition to growing  trees and making paper products, the recovery of paper and other materials for recycling serves as a means of income generation for informal waste collectors and small recycling businesses.

Products and People

  • Timber, pulp and paper can be collectively referred to as forest products.
  • In South Africa, the wood for such products comes from sustainably managed plantations, and not natural or indigenous forests. The trees in these plantations are harvested in small rotations, and then replanted with new saplings within the same year. Around 850 million trees are farmed over 676 000 hectares by our forestry sector for the purpose of pulp and paper products.
  • This makes trees – and anything made from its wood, leaves or roots – a renewable resource. (Have you ever been asked to eat less carrots or cabbage to save the vegetable farm? No, you are supporting farmers by eating their produce.)
  • Wood is used to make/produce an array of carbon-storing, renewable and versatile products that we use every day.

Each of these products – and more – requires a team of people, a workforce, to get them from the forest to the factory, and into our homes, businesses and schools:

  • Printing and writing paper
  • Tissue products
  • Paper packaging
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Reading books, notebooks and stationery
  • Price tags and labels
  • Extracts for adhesives and resins
  • Cellulose for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and even food-grade additives
  • Biochemicals
  • Sawn timber for housing, construction, furniture and decking
  • With much of forestry-owned land and paper mills situated in rural or peri-urban areas, the forestry and forest products sector contributes to basic infrastructure such as roads, clinics and schools as well as investing in education, community development and eco-tourism.

Local is Lekker

PAMSA’s members produce the following types of pulp and paper products

  • Dissolving wood pulp
  • Newsprint
  • Uncoated woodfree paper – also known as a bond and copy paper
  • Scholastic grades
  • Paper-based packaging
  • Toilet tissue
  • Facial tissue
  • Paper towelling
  • Industrial paper towel
  • Paper napkins

South African paper mills do not make coated graphic papers for magazines and brochures. Recycled printing paper is also not made in this country.

Production Statistics

PAMSA collates data from the South African pulp and paper sector to draw up an annual summary of paper manufacturing and recycling statistics.

Map of Member Operations