Versatile, Sustainable American Softwoods on Show at WOODEX for Africa
American Softwoods (AMSO), a promotional partnership between three major U.S. softwood trade associations, will be exhibiting alongside local timber industry players at this year’s WOODEX for Africa trade expo at the Gallagher Convention Centre, from 5-7 June.
The AMSO partnership comprises the export divisions of America’s Southern Forest Products Association, the Softwood Export Council and APA – the Engineered Wood Association. The organisation promotes the use of American softwoods for both internal and external projects and works with the global timber industry, providing technical information and assistance to develop the worldwide market for American softwoods.
“We have been looking forward with great anticipation to the WOODEX event,” said AMSO Consultant, Charles Trevor, “It’s the ideal platform for AMSO to broaden its network of South African buyers and enter into deeper discussions with individual buyers about their particular needs and requirements. I believe it will also help to broaden our understanding of the local timber environment, placing us in a better position to contribute meaningfully to this vibrant market.”
The South African market for American softwoods has grown substantially in the past five years. Whereas South Africa imported softwood lumber to the total value of US$106,000 in 2009, that figure grew to US$308,000 in 2013. More telling still is that in the period January to February 2014, imports were up 159% over the same period in 2013.
“The figures reveal that there is a demand for American softwoods and tremendous growth potential in the South and Southern African markets,” said Trevor.
The term “American softwoods” refers to a variety of US-grown tree species, each offering a unique blend of physical and mechanical properties. Among the most popular exports to this region are:
- Southern Yellow Pine. This category comprises four pine species whose high density offer excellent natural strength as well as impact and wear resistance.
- Douglas Fir. A wood with high strength-to-weight ratio and attractive looks that make it desirable for everything from cabinetry to floor and roof trusses.
- Ponderosa Pine. An attractive, moderately strong, splinter-free and stable wood that works well for drawers, windows, shutters and stairs.
- Hem-Fir. A combination of five firs and Western Hemlock – a fine-grained species and popular for moulding, millwork, paneling, furniture and more.
- Eastern White Pine. A versatile wood with a fine grain and uniform texture that works well for construction framing as well as cladding, paneling, mouldings, flooring and furniture.
- Western Red Cedar. A highly dimensionally stable wood that paints, stains and varnishes well and whose aromatic properties repel clothing moths, making it a popular choice for bedroom cabinetry and chests of drawers.
“Sustainability will of course be a key factor for South African buyers when considering the range of American softwoods, and when it comes to sustainability, you don’t get greener. Thanks to sustainable forest management practices, forest growth exceeds harvest of American softwood timbers. These softwoods are moreover reusable, recyclable and biodegradable, and whereas other building materials contribute to carbon emissions that cause climate change, American softwoods sequester carbon and help to slow the rate of climate change,” concluded Trevor.