Everything about the pines

Curious about Pine resources in France ?

Are there different species of pine?

There are around 110 species of the genus PINUS in the world.

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Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

Which species of pine grows in France ?

There are around 15 species of pine in France. The main ones are maritime pine, Scots pine, Corsican pine, Calabrian pine, Austrian pine, mountain pine, Swiss pine, mugo pine, stone pine or parasol pine, Aleppo pine and Weymouth pine.

These species make up forests throughout the world but only a few of them are workable. The most important species are Scots pine and maritime pine. These two species alone represent two thirds of the available pine in French forests.

Other pine trees are found in abundance in local areas, and they deserve to be better promoted today, particularly within the construction industry.

Some pines are used more as ornamental trees in parks and gardens.

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Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

Are there differences between each species of pine ?

VERY FEW - You can tell some species apart when they are still in their forest habitat or when cut up into logs (particularly through their bark) but they often get mixed up once sawn. The species of the pine is only rarely a selling point of the finished product.

However, when visually grading the wood, what does vary from one pine to another is the size of the different types of wood. Rather than concentrating on a particular species, therefore, you are better off asking for a choice of wood.

There are differences when it comes to the mechanical properties of the timber, but this should not influence the builder's decision; they will ask for a structural grading.

Every pine has a durable red duramen and an impregnable white sapwood which can be used in use class 4. This is what they all have in common!

To find out more, discover the different species of pine and their characteristics

Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

Where do pine trees grow in France?

Almost everywhere, and probably on your doorstep!

Pine trees cover 2.7 million hectares. That's 16% of all forest area in France; or 5% of the entire country!

Pine trees are not dependent on any particular soil or climate. They come in such a wide variety of species that they have successfully colonised the vast majority of the country, from the plains to the mountains. One exception perhaps is in the North, where resinous trees are in short supply.

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Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

How much pine is there in French forests ?

The National Geographic Institute estimates that 363 million m3 of all pine species grows in what we call "production forests" This figures does not include isolated trees, hedges or trees found in inaccessible forests. This represents 15% of all forestry resources.

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Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

Can all pine tree resources be used ?

Some mountain forests are difficult to reach and are not suitable for intensive forestry. However, the pine trees that grow there are often high quality and worth logging.

On the other hand, the Landes de Gascogne forests provide a typical example of man-made forests intended for pine forestry. These forests are found in Brittany, Normandy and throughout the Loire Valley, and are arranged to ensure maximum efficiency.

Generally speaking, French forests are not yet being worked to their maximum potential.

Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

At what age are French pine trees cut down ?

This varies depending on several factors, including the species (each species has a different growth rate), the altitude - which slows down the growth - the silviculture method (population density), and the desired diameter (different target markets).

As a guide, maritime pine in Aquitaine is worked for around 45 years, whilst the laricio and Scots pine in the central region is worked for around 80 years. Scots pine in the Vosges and black pine from Rhône-Alpes grow slower, and are cut down at around 100 years old. At the extreme end of the scale, there are mountain pines in the Pyrenees and the Alps which need 120 years to reach a workable diameter. If we consider the ages at which pine trees can be worked in terms of the overall volume of forested pines, the average is around 70 years.

Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

What is the volume of pine processed by French sawmills ?

According to the National Wood Federation, around 2.2 million m3 per year, or more than a quarter of all wood sawn in France!

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Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

Are pine trees particularly sensitive to storms ?

NO - In the last 15 years, French forests have been through two particularly terrible storms. Both had a profound effect on local inhabitants and caused them significant problems.

This was the case in the forest area of the Landes de Gascogne in both 1999 and 2009, where the pine trees were severely damaged. However, sensitivity to wind is not typically a characteristic of the pine tree. The Landes forest is in fact very exposed to the elements and the local soil is rather loose; pine has actually been used to help stabilise this soil.

Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

Why are water sprays sometimes used on piles of wood ?

This is to inhibit the proliferation of fungi in the wood and prevent attacks from wood-eating insects.

Spraying the wood with water may seem strange but it is exactly what is needed. Spraying the wood allows us to maintain 100% humidity and ensure the wood does not contain air and therefore oxygen. Microorganisms that damage the wood (rot, termites and other insects) need oxygen to survive and thrive.

Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

Is the quality of French pine the same as imported pine ?

YES - But the "use class of a species" does not mean much in and of itself. The use class has to reflect the wood's intended use.

  • Good mechanical properties are necessary for structural use.
  • Aesthetic qualities are more important for display wood.
  • In certain situations, durability is the most essential criterion.
  • Finally, some uses require a combination of these different properties while others don't need any.

French pine has all of these 3 features - good mechanical properties, high aesthetic qualities and good durability - and there are standardised quality levels that specifiers and project owners can use to set their requirement level.

The only difference between French pine and imported pine is the volume of available trees with good aesthetic qualities; but this is often an "imaginary" problem and in most cases does not present serious obstacles.

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Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

What is the main advantage of French pine trees ?

This is without a doubt their proximity.

This goes without saying, but it is also worth remembering that when it comes to construction material, this is the most important factor. Having materials close at hand helps to not only reduce the environmental impact of the building project, but also to create added value and local jobs.

Moreover, French pine is more suitable for impregnating than the slower growing Scandinavian or Central European pine. A study is currently underway aiming to prove that French pine is more durable, and better suited for extreme uses (e.g. for building terraces) after autoclave treatment.

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Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

Who are the competitors of French pine ?

Northern pine (Scandinavia), Central European pine (mainly Poland) and several Spanish pine varieties.

You'll need to take extra care when choosing autoclave treated pine from other countries.

The French standard on the treatment of wood (NF B 50-105-3) is more demanding than other European countries when it comes to the impregnation depth and water retention of products. This is due to France's diverse climate and its extremely variable surrounding humidity. In France, timber intended for outdoor use becomes more damaged more quickly than in Scandinavia or Germany, for example.

Catégorie : Curious about Pine resources in France ?

All you need to know about French Pine

French Pine in two minutes

Everything is good in the pine France!

Who are we ?



Who are we ?

French pine is found throughout France and provides an abundant resource of timber and industrial wood in the immediate vicinity of industry players and end users. This website was created by the APEP, l'Association pour la Promotion des Emplois du Pin (the Association for the Promotion of the Use of Pine), which unites all professionals who use French pine, whether in outdoor structures, construction, interior design, logistics or industry.