In the 1980s, estimates of Uruguay's natural forest ranged from 4,000 to 6,000 square kilometers of mostly small trees of limited or no industrial use; planted forest estimates ranged from 120,000 hectares to 137,000 hectares of pine and eucalyptus. There were an additional 70,000 hectares of palm, poplar, salix (a genus of shrubs and trees), and other species. Sawmills were inefficient and small, with a capacity of fewer than thirty cubic meters a day. Of the 220,000 cubic meters of sawn wood consumed per year, Uruguay imported about 66,000. Following the recovery of the construction industry from a recession in 1987, demand for sawn wood was increasing at a rate of about 2.5 percent per year in the late 1980s. Domestic use of firewood was important, increasing from about 1.4 million cubic meters in the mid-1970s to 2.8 million cubic meters in the mid-1980s. Firewood demand was growing at 5 percent a year in the late 1980s. A number of local industries converted to firewood from fuel oil for energy needs, resulting in significant savings.
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