The Charlois group is the first forestry company by volume of French oaks (nearly 10% of the total volume of French oaks marketed each year) and the undisputed leader on the French staves market. Due to particularly selective quality criteria for the manufacture of staves, only half of the volume purchased is used in stave-mills.
The logs of stave quality indeed meet very precise criteria: the trees are over 150 years old, their growth has been slow and their trunk are straight with a large diameter and no knots or spikes. And on these stave quality logs, cut into smaller logs and then split into quarters, only the heartwood is used for making staves. The bark, sapwood and heart, which represent 80% of the volume, therefore become related product to recycle.
This raw material made precious by its rarity* encourages us to optimize the daily use of all parts of the tree. Oaks that are not used to produce staves are divided into two parts. The most qualitative one and closest to the stave quality is valued internally in railway sleepers, in oak products for oenology or in oak shingles. The scraps of these products (shortening, edging, sawdust…) called “related products” are recycled externally in fuel, chipboard panels…
As for the crown of the tree, which has remained in the forest, the largest branches are cut into firewood and the rest of the small branches are left on site in order to usefully contribute to the enrichment of humus and biodiversity used as a shelter for insects and mushrooms.
*In France, staves correspond on average to 1% of the annual volume of sawing, railway sleepers and staves production (deciduous trees) and to 12% of its value. We can also estimate that about 3% of the harvested oaks each year in France are of stave quality.
Pictures : © Christophe Deschanel