Wood in Salzburg
The Austrian federal state of Salzburg is rich in wood; 52% of its surface area is forested. Forestry and timber industry are well developed, playing a significant role in the local economy. After tourism, this industry is the second most important sector of business.
Apart from a small number of large industrial operations (with emphasis on wooden boards and ski products) our wood-processing businesses consist of around 1,000 small and medium-sized family enterprises. This structure is flexible, robust in handling crises, and healthy: the companies are well integrated into a strong regional business network.
Faithful to the guiding principle - "Achieve more by working together – using the strength of small operations" - the goal of forming clusters is to secure and enhance the competitiveness of the local wood industry.
In Salzburg state, forestry and wood represent an important pillar in the economy, an area of strength built up through the generations. The existing small and medium-sized companies, active in that value-creation chain that is centred around wood, must be retained and strengthened as an essential economic force – especially in the rural areas.
Managing the cluster of wood businesses means extending the existing strengths, bringing forces together, supporting the diversity of companies in their cooperation, and providing a thriving environment for them in their public activities.
This process is successful, thanks to the initiation of combined efforts and cooperation, as well as thanks to promoting innovation activity and setting up networks which link up businesses with research establishments and service providers. The cluster also assists in promoting knowledge transfer: apart from the networking of the organisations involved in further education (Ligneum), the latest knowledge is passed on and discussed in workshops, seminars and excursions.
Forestry and wood-processing have been an important factor for Salzburg’s economy, reaching far back into history. In 2000 a "Cluster Management for Wood" was called into being for the first time, at the initiative of Salzurg’s state government; thus a cluster was also created on an institutional level. Since 2004, cluster management work has been housed at the organisation proHolz Salzburg, where it constitutes a business area in its own right.
This arrangement makes the optimum use of synergies possible: proHolz stands for the advertising of wood and for specialist advice (for which the target group is the general public); cluster management stands for the support provided to the wood-processing businesses (target group: companies within the cluster).