Paper pulp simply refers to the various means and devices employed in order to produce paper. The paper pulp is usually comprised of cellulose fiber and has a variety of uses. In Portugal about 38% of the total land area is dedicated to forestry and forest resources and extensive areas are dedicated to the cultivation of timber plantations and eucalyptus. In fact, pulp wood refers to the timbers grown specifically for the purpose of manufacturing wood pulp. In Portugal, the various forest resources have encouraged the birth of industries which are engaged in the seasoning of these products and one of the premier industries so developed is that of the paper pulp. In Portugal, paper mills are present in different parts of the country and the most prominent manufacturers are the Portucel Soporcel group.
In recent times it has been observed that the domestic timber plantations have not been sufficient in order to meet the growing demands of the Portuguese paper pulp industry. This is because huge tracts of land are destroyed every year as a result of inefficient forest management policies and also more importantly due to forest fires. The data released by the National Forest Inventory in Portugal has revealed that the present state of indigenous production will enable only a mere 52% of the present demand for paper pulp to be meted while about 45% of the future demand is estimated to be fulfilled in future. As a result of the shortfall in domestic production, the paper industry is forced to depend upon inferior quality imports in order to meet the rising production demands which also affect the goodwill of the industry. However, it cannot be avoided as Portugal is Europe’s fifth largest producer of uncoated wood free paper. However, despite all odds, Portuguese paper and pulp industry has managed to secure a 3% increase in sales figures evident in the 2002 statistics.