The forest and wood-based industry is one of the strongest economic sectors in Germany in terms of revenue and employment impacts. This applies in particular to Baden-Wuerttemberg, where 29,000 companies are employing 175,000 people and generate an annual turnover of EUR 31 billion.
Wood is one of the most important renewable raw materials. The aim of the wood-based industries is to economically market this commodity. The three major branches include the wood industry, wood craft businesses as well as the wood trade sector. The forest industry provides the wood-based industries for the vast majority of this essential raw material. Besides the aspect of producing raw material, the forest and wood-based industry also aims at the preservation of forests as sheltered zone and as environment for recreation.
Ranking second after Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg disposes of the richest reserves of wood in Germany. More than 75 % of the harvested timber remains in the region. The largest customer of this raw material is the sawmill industry, followed by the log trade as well as the pulp and paper industry.
In compliance with the national average, the largest section of the forest and wood-based industry of Baden-Wuerttemberg is characterized by small and medium-sized businesses which are mostly based in rural areas. In order to push the sector's development and to strengthen its competitiveness, the Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection, in cooperation with the Cluster Initiative Forestry and Wood Baden-Wuerttemberg, supports initiatives of cooperation and networking between companies as well as between industry and research institutes, for example. The cluster includes 13 sub-sectors along the forestry and wood value chain.
With regard to timber construction, Baden-Wuerttemberg has been chosen as business location by numerous internationally operating companies. This applies also for market leaders in the field of prefabricated timber construction.
Also worldwide leading manufacturers of the wood processing industry, notably producers of woodworking machinery, paper machines and tool systems, are located there. In the wood processing industry (e.g. the furniture industry), intersections can be found with other industrial sectors such as mechanical engineering, tool construction or the metal industry. But also logistics, the packaging industry and the energy sector represent cross-sectional technologies for the forest and wood-based industry.