Review of the ATIBT webinar for IWPA


On March 14th, the International Tropical Timber Technical Association (ATIBT) hosted a webinar in collaboration with the International Wood Products Association (IWPA).

Facilitated by Jean Gérard, a researcher at CIRAD, Emmanuel Groutel, an economist at Wale, and Paul Cuveillier, in charge of technical documentation at ATIBT, the event explored the outlook for African tropical timber on the global and American markets. The webinar attracted 45 registrants, with 27 participants remaining until the conclusion.

The session began with an analysis of current market trends for tropical timber, drawing on data from the FAO and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). It was highlighted that hardwood, particularly tropical timber, is less common in the United States compared to softwood, with hardwood imports only representing 2.5 to 3% of those of softwoods. Among hardwoods, sawn tropical woods account for a third of the total volume of hardwoods imported. Brazil, with 28.2%, leads the ranking of sawn tropical wood exporters, closely followed by Indonesia (19.2%), Malaysia (17%), Cameroon (12.8%), and Congo (10.6%).

In the second part, speakers shed light on the main tropical species imported to the United States, such as African mahogany, sapele, sipo, aniegré, iroko, afromosia, azobé, and planting cedro. They also presented four categories of species (heavy, medium-heavy, light, aesthetic) that are readily available and whose properties could appeal to the American market. The LKTS (Lesser Known Tropical Species) were also discussed.

This webinar highlighted the prospects for African tropical timber in the American market. One of the key conclusions from this session is that there is untapped potential for its expansion in the American market. The speakers emphasized the key species and categories of timber that could attract the interest of American consumers, while also highlighting the diversity and availability of certified timber from Africa.

Moreover, the webinar also addressed critical issues such as sustainability and responsible management of forest resources, underscoring the growing importance of certification and traceability in the timber trade. By focusing on LKTS (Lesser-Known Tropical Species), the speakers paved the way for exploring new varieties of wood that could meet market needs while contributing to the conservation of tropical forests.

The presentation is available to ATIBT members.