“Sustainable forest management is a good example of a low-impact, circular economy and represents an opportunity to create and distribute value in the territory,” states Imerio Pellizzari, owner of Coradai S.r.l. of Valdaone (Trento), a family-owned company specialised in wood activities. As an expert of his native region, Pellizzari is aware that only through best practices is it possible to protect the natural heritage of Trentino, while at the same time create a virtuous circle which generates opportunities for employment and income.
In addition to managing the lots from which it provides logs to local sawmills, Coradai is committed to giving new life to waste through obtaining wood chips from secondary raw materials. The waste is obtained through a biomass management platform that was created with a local partner.
Thanks to a mini cogeneration plant that produces 90 kW of electricity and 210 kW of thermal energy, the company can guarantee the correct dryness of the wood chips which they supply to three large power plants and other medium-sized plants including schools, hotels, and two greenhouses–all within a radius of a few dozen kilometers from the production site, proving the company focused activity in south-western Trentino region.
“This allows us to count on the benefits of the short chain, an asset since we work in a mountainous environment that can be hard and difficult to reach by mechanical means,” Pellizzari continues. Due to the location, the handling of vehicles and logistics make up a significant portion of the budget. The same cannot be said for the ten Coradai employees, the farthest of whom lives 4 km from the company’s headquarters. An extra benefit of the company’s regional focus is that local business strongly benefit from this activity, especially the maintenance of vehicles, spare parts, and other services that are almost exclusively local suppliers.
According to Pellizzari, the resilience of the forestry sector is illustrated by its rebounding following decades of semi-abandonment. This allowed, during times of economic crisis, for the rediscovery of interest by returning “back to the origins” by re-evaluating renewable energy sources such as wood.
However, much misinformation still exists; forest management is a complex operation with the purpose of achieving an economic return while keeping the guiding principle of safeguarding the forest itself. This can only be done through viewing the forests through a circular-economy perspective.
So-called waste can be managed: abandoning it in the woods causes damage, such as attracting parasites that can also infect the healthy plants around. It’s therefore better to remove the waste in order to facilitate the growth of new trees and produce quality wood chips to be consumed locally.
“As sector operator,” Pellizzari claims, “I hope the knowledge of the forestry world and the opportunities offered by it will increase through moments of exchange and the spread of best practices. Only then we can keep believing in the future and creating that critical mass to give to our businesses the necessary confidence to invest, not only in installations and technology but also in human resources.”