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Commodities

Back to the forest: Japan uses most homegrown trees in 48 years

Domestic supply stretched thin as biomass demand soars

Cypress logs in Japan's Tokai region: Demand for construction-related lumber fell in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Konatsu Ochi)

TOKYO -- Despite a homebuilding industry that went into a virtual standstill during the pandemic, Japan last year used its highest rate of domestically produced lumber since 1972. The reason -- they burned more of it for energy as part of a broader decarbonization drive.

But even with the 48-year high in lumber self-sufficiency, some in the industry are saying more needs to be done to boost Japan's production to achieve an even higher level.

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