The development of prosperous value chains based on hardwood timber in the South Baltic Region depends to a huge extend on the actual and future availability of competent and motivated entrepreneurs and workers in all sectors of the chain, from forestry to wood processing.
Private forest owners are generally not sufficiently educated to manage their forests themselves. Harvesting is mainly carried out by small and micro contractors. While it can be assumed that workers are adequately trained, it needs to be asked whether the majority of the workers is able to work safely and productive in harvesting large dimensioned timber.
Contractors generally do not have advanced management skills. Here is a major field for development: to enable them to improve their contribution to the value chains.
The timber industry in the hardwood chains is with rare exceptions also composed of small traditional saw mills. The main problem in these enterprises is the workplace design, where technical protection of workers from hazardous objects and agents is often not applied sufficiently, where work-places do not meet the standards of ergonomic design, and where safety cultures are not yet developed in way that the use personal protective equipment is a common standard.