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India’s tanned lumber industry has been one of the country’s biggest losers in the recent economic downturn, with the country losing more than a quarter of its tanned pulp industry in a year.
A study published on Thursday in the journal Nature Climate Change found that India’s population of about 50 million has shrunk to a mere 16.3 million in the past 15 years, leaving the industry with just a little over a million trees, the equivalent of one tree per 1,000 people.
It said that the decline in the tanned industry was largely the result of an ageing population, declining employment opportunities and the growing cost of processing tanned wood.
A large part of the industry has moved overseas to countries with lower labour costs, the study said.
The decline has been accompanied by a dramatic drop in employment and wage growth in India’s lumber sector.
About 1.3 billion people are employed in the country, with more than 80 per cent of those jobs in the forestry sector, according to a 2014 study by the National Institute of Management.
But it is the tanners who are the real losers, with employment down to 7.4 million in 2015, down from a peak of almost 14 million in 2009, according data compiled by the World Bank.
“We estimate that over the past 20 years the tans produced by the industry in India has fallen by more than 20 per cent.
We can say that the industry is facing a total loss of about 5 million tonnes of tanned forest product,” said Prof Raghavendra Srivastava, a research fellow at the Centre for Research on Public Policy (CRP), a think-tank.
He said that while the industry had been able to recover from the slump due to a massive increase in the availability of tanners, it was still losing ground.
“The tanners themselves are very important for the industry to continue.
They are the people who have to cut down trees for timber,” he said.
The CRP said the government had failed to meet its commitment to help the industry recover from a slump.
It also warned that it was not certain that tanners would be able to continue producing enough tanned trees in the foreseeable future.
“Even if we were to recover to full employment levels by 2020, the industry will not be able continue producing tans,” the report said.
“Even if it were to keep increasing production, it will not recover its current level of tans production in the next three to five years.”
It said that at current rates of output growth, by 2025 the industry would only be able keep producing about 50,000 tans annually.
“If the taper does not stop, the country is on the cusp of losing tens of thousands of hectares of tants for every one tonne of tanes produced,” said K Suresh, director of the Centre on Sustainable Development (CSD) at the University of Hyderabad.
There are currently more than 30,000 farmers who rely on tanners for their livelihoods in the region.
The number of tanegers in India is also growing.
According to the World Trade Organization, taneing wood was responsible for around 10 per cent to 15 per cent growth in the trade in 2015.
But Prof Srivastyas said the tanes industry was not in a position to meet these challenges, given the lack of availability of resources and the declining demand from farmers.
“The demand for tans is declining because there is a shortage of labour, the price of tantal is not being met and demand for it is declining,” he added.
“In terms of the availability and quality of the tants, there is no hope that it will continue to be available.”
In the past, the trade of tanto, a wood-based pulp, was one of India’s largest industries.
But that has changed.
India has lost around a third of its total tanto production in recent years.
India has a long history of using tantals to make paper.
They have been used in the manufacture of paper since the 13th century.
They were also used to make cotton, a staple foodstuff for many people.
But the demand for paper and cotton has dropped in recent decades.