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Issue 4 2018


Forest Information Billboard

Issue 4, December 2018



12-15 February 2019: Forest Sector Outlook meetings, Koli, Finland, 

21 March 2019: International Day of Forests - Forests and Education, Geneva, Switzerland,

27-29 March 2019: 41st Session of the Joint ECE/FAO Working Party on Forest Statistics, Economics and Management, Geneva, Switzerland, 

28-31 May 2019: Final Regional Conference on Accountability Systems for SFM in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan,

For more details about upcoming events, please refer to the meeting website and the "Events" section at the bottom of the Billboard.  All UNECE/FAO meetings are listed here: UNECE/FAO meetings.


 Forest reporting

Vancouver Invitation on Forest Products for a Better Future

Innovative and sustainably produced wood products, when coupled with sustainable forest management, can ‘build the future’ and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Worldwide, the building sector contributes up to 30% of global annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are a significant cause of climate change and are likely going to increase in the future. Building materials are an important factor when it comes to emissions: it takes five times more energy to produce a tonne of concrete and twenty-four times more energy to produce a tonne of steel, as compared to a tonne of wood. Thus, alternative materials like wood can contribute substantially to moving towards sustainability. Wood products such as innovative cellulose fibres can also provide alternative materials for other sectors such as textiles, which rely on water-intensive crops like cotton, and carbon-intensive materials like polyester. 

This is the key message of the Vancouver Invitation on Forest Products for a Better Future, a bold and forward-looking statement of intent to harness the environmental, economic and social benefits of sustainable forest management. It was developed with Canada and with the input from UNECE countries and is now open for anyone to join!

[Vancouver Invitation] [Sign up here] [COFFI2018]

Poland and UNECE raise awareness about the benefits of wood as a low-emission construction material at COP24

The 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), taking place in Katowice, Poland, from 2 to 14 December 2018, is discussing global action to reduce emissions and keep global warming within the temperature limits of the Paris Agreement. While negotiations take place, a number of events focus on practical solutions to help humanity face the challenge.

In this context, UNECE is raising awareness of the role that wood can play in cutting down emissions when replacing more carbon-intensive materials in the construction sector. This takes the form of a cartoon entitled “The Three Little Pigs and Climate Change”, jointly developed with the Polish Ministry of the Environment and State Forests Poland, which revisits the classic fairy-tale. [Full Press Release]

Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry - Market Statement

Spruce, pine and fir are the main families of coniferous trees fueling the global forest products sector. They provide the raw material for just under 60% of wood products in the world. Products derived from these species are used as construction materials for buildings, for paper and paper products as well as fuel for heat and power production.

What is even more astonishing is that coniferous forests of the northern hemisphere taken as a whole are constantly increasing their carbon stock while providing one billion cubic metres of wood every single year. Many forests in Europe even doubled their carbon stock per hectare in the past 70 years. Every single cubic meter of wood stores the equivalent of one tonne of CO2 – this CO2 is stored over the lifetime of the trees and beyond, if their wood is used in long lasting wood products.

In the UNECE region sawn softwood (and pulp) producers have had a significant period of increased demand and higher prices (in some cases, record prices). However there has been a sharp dip in North American prices this summer that is likely to be short lived, as indications point to increasing demand and thus rising prices in the near term.

[Full press release] [COFFI Market Statement 2018] [Forecast tables 2018-2019] [Country Market Statements] [COFFI2018] [FPAMR 2017-2018]

25 Years of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management

Why some intergovernmental C&I Processes flourished while others faded

How intergovernmental C&I Processes have made a difference

The highlights comprise:

  • Eleven processes for forest-related C&I were analysed.
  • Up to 171 countries are members of this processes
  • They found varying levels of implementation across countries and regions.
  • Common achievements of the processes are presented.
  • Success factors for C&I implementation are proposed.
  • They analysed impacts of indicators from regional and international C&I processes
  • They identified six major impacts that apply to the C&I efforts: (1) enhanced discourse and understanding of SFM; (2) shaped and focused engagement of science in SFM; (3) improved monitoring and reporting on SFM to facilitate transparency and evidence-based decision-making; (4) strengthened forest management practices; (5) facilitated assessment of progress towards SFM goals; and (6) improved forest-related dialog and communication. 
  • They conclude that the 25-year history of C&I work in forestry has had significant positive impacts, though challenges do remain for the implementation of C&I and progress towards SFM.

Kazakhstan includes socio-economic aspects in its forest monitoring system

Kazakhstan has taken another step towards monitoring sustainable forest management in support of the Sustainable Development Goals by including socio-economic and governance indicators in the country’s forest monitoring system.

National forest monitoring systems and assessments are designed to provide reliable information on how forests are managed and used, thus helping to improve national forest policy development, planning and sustainable management. The concept of sustainable forest management emphasises the importance of economic, social and environmental aspects equally. To reflect this in the Kazakh forest monitoring system, socio-economic and governance indicators had to be developed and will be monitored from now on. This includes the economic value of forest products, the employment situation in the forest sector and policy and legal frameworks.

[news release] [meeting website] [project website]

UNECE/FAO starts first ever study on forests in the Caucasus and Central Asia

Forests are rare in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and, as any rare good, should be valued, protected and cared for. This is because as of today still little is known about their values and state. To enhance the knowledge of forests in this region the UNECE and FAO are preparing the “State of forests of the Caucasus and Central Asia”, the first ever publication providing an overview of forests and forest management in the region.

The study was reviewed during a regional meeting in Georgia (Tbilisi), on 3-5, December 2018 by experts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The study, together with the supporting data, is expected to be published in mid 2019.

[press release] [meeting website] [FRA website]

Global Competition on Best Practices in Forest Education

On the 21st March of each year the forest community at large comes together to celebrate the International Day of Forests (IDF). In 2019 the day will address the theme 'Forests and Education'.

More often than not, great educators do not receive the recognition they deserve and their powerful teaching methods have a limited sphere of influence. To raise awareness of forest education and its impact on sustainable forest management, IUFRO, IFSA, HY+ and the University of Helsinki have launched a Global Competition to find the Best Practices in Forest Education. Winning methods will be shared to a worldwide audience, and winners will of course receive prizes!

The Best Practices competition will award 2 main prizes, one IUFRO 2019 World Congress Prize Package sponsored by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), and one Forest Visit to Finland, sponsored by the University of Helsinki and University of Helsinki Centre for Continuing Education HY+.

Find detailed information here:

Understanding the implications of the EU-LULUCF regulation for the wood supply from EU forests to the EU

In June 2018, the European Parliament and Council of the European Union adopted a legislative regu‑ lation for incorporating greenhouse gas emissions and removals from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (EU‑ LULUCF) under its 2030 Climate and Energy Framework. The LULUCF regulation aim to incentivise EU Member States to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase removals in the LULUCF sector. The regulation, however, does not set a target for increasing the LULUCF carbon sink, but rather includes a ‘no net debit’ target for LULUCF (Forests and Agricultural soils). For Managed Forest Land (MFL) an accounting framework with capped credits for additional miti‑ gation against a set forest reference level (FRL) was agreed for 2021–2030. The FRL gives the projected future carbon sink in the two compliance periods 2021–2025 and 2026–2030 under “continuation of forest management practices as they were in the reference period 2000–2009”. This FRL was disputed by some Member States as it was perceived to put a limit on their future wood harvesting from MFL. Here we simulated with the EFISCEN European forest model the “continuation of forest management practices” and determined the corresponding wood harvest for 26 EU countries under progressing age classes. [full paper]

European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition Conference: Data collection and coordination key to unlocking sustainable tropical timber market growth

The bold ambition of the Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition is to see an increase in sustainably sourced material’s share of European tropical timber sales from today’s 30% to 50% in 2020. This in turn, it maintains, will be a significant driver for further spread of sustainable forest management in tropical supplier countries.

But vital to achieving this objective, says the STTC, is to improve accuracy, accessibility and analysis of trade statistics, hence the title of its annual conference in October – held, appropriately, in the Tropical Gardens in Paris – ‘Using data to drive market share’.

To date the STTC has primarily focused, with private and public sector partners, on market education and promotion initiatives, encouraging uptake of lesser-known tropical species and supporting sustainable procurement policy implementation.

[full article] [STTC website]

Exploring Forest Disturbances and how to prevent them

With forest landscapes lighting up in flames, tiny bark beetles eating hectares of forests and storms making (conifer) trees fly away we can summarize: In 2018, our forests have been severely shaken by a variety of disturbances. However, instead of only dealing with damage done, the European Forest Institute (EFI) together with risk management stakeholders from all over Europe is working towards establishing the European Forest Risk Facility, an innovative platform of exchange and knowledge transfer on forest disturbances, risk prevention and management.

The facility champions for shifting the focus from the high-profile actions when reacting to disturbances to the less-known but equally or even more important actions to prevent and prepare for them. Eventually, also the media seems to become more aware of mitigation and prevention opportunities. “What can we do to prevent wildfires?”, Euronews recently asked Alexander Held, European Forest Institute’s Senior Expert on Forest Fires about the wildfires in California. "Rather than adapting forest management, we rely too much on firefighters", stated Held in his interview with Le Temps. "Beyond climatic conditions, the way in which soil and vegetation are used has a significant influence on fire spread", he said.

Altogether, Held and some colleagues with both science and risk management background were interviewed by more than 12 media stations to comment the extreme weather events 2018. It is evident that expertise on preventing and preparing for disturbances is needed. Check out a collection of news items here.

Japan Seeks Public Comments on Proposed CLT Design Values

Japan’s current CLT design value is derived from the strength value of inferior but dominant Japanese species, sugi (Japanese cedar).  As such, the current standard does not recognize the design strength of CLT made from the lamstock of stronger wood species, such as Douglas-fir. The standard therefore worked as a trade barrier for U.S. wood species.  SEC and FAS/Tokyo have raised a question on this issue.

On September 20, 2018, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) invited public comments on a draft amendment to the notification concerning cross laminate timber (CLT) design values.  The amendment includes the strength value of U.S. species, including Douglas-fir, Western hemlock and Southern yellow pine. The proposed amendment enables more accurate design value calculations for CLT made from these species.  MLIT invites public comments on the draft amendment by October 19, 2018.  Please see our newly published GAIN report.  Please circulate this to those who are interested in this topic.

Taking the sustainability message across the supply chain

Digital promotion and marketing toolkits and architectural and vocational school student outreach are just latest developments in the comprehensive programme of verified sustainable tropical timber market education and promotion Le Commerce du Bois (LCB) has undertaken with support and input from the STTC.  The French timber trade federation’s goal, Communication Manager Jessica Tholon told the STTC Conference in Paris, is to highlight the benefits of sourcing and using verified sustainable tropical material across the timber supply chain in the widest sense.

LCB distributed the digital toolkits on usb sticks through a series of regional meetings in 2017 organised for the range of industry stakeholders. Here delegates were also given information on tropical timber buyers among its membership, its due diligence accreditation system and environmental charter.

Forest resources in the EU and the EU Forest Strategy

A great diversity of natural forest types, forest covers, and forest ownership structures exist in the EU. Forests are one of Europe's most important renewable resources and provide multiple benefits to society and the economy. They are also important for the conservation of European nature.

The EU has close to 182 million hectares (ha) of forests and other wooded land, corresponding to 43% of EU land area. (Source: Eurostat 2016) As a result of afforestation programmes and due to natural regeneration on marginal lands, forest cover in the EU has increased over the past few decades.

There is great diversity of natural forest types, forest covers, and forest ownership structures in the EU. Forests are one of Europe's most important renewable resources and provide multiple benefits to society and the economy. They are one of Europe's main sources of biodiversity.

Forests are a key resource for improving quality of life and job creation, in particular in rural areas, and protects and provides ecosystem services to all citizens.

The Forest Strategy identifies the key principles needed to strengthen sustainable forest management and improve competitiveness and job creation, in particular in rural areas, while ensuring forest protection and delivery of ecosystem services. The Strategy also specifies how the EU wishes to implement forest-related policies.

Teachers’ contest – International Day of Forests 2019

Send us a short video to let the world know how you teach future generations about the importance of forests and win a trip to Rome! 

The theme of the 2019 International Day of Forests (IDF) is ‘Forests and Education’, and we want the world to know how you educate children and young people about the importance of forests and trees. Today, when more than half the world’s population lives in cities, often disconnected from nature, it is more important than ever to introduce an understanding and awareness of forests and their benefits into children’s lives at an early age.

We are therefore inviting teachers and instructors to send us a short video that describes how you are providing children with a foundation to better understand the importance of forests and trees for our planet’s future. This could be, for example, a video of a classroom setting, a trip into the forest, an art or music lesson or even an exercise class. 

A selection of videos received will be posted on FAO Forestry’s IDF 2019 website. The contest winner will be invited to travel to FAO headquarters in Rome to help us celebrate IDF on 21 March 2019 and to demonstrate their successful teaching approach.

Details on how to participate are available at this link: The deadline for entrants has been extended until 31 January 2019.

Six problems with BECCS

Years of inaction have meant that climate scientists are no longer just discussing the need to reduce emissions, they are also talking about having to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Known as negative emissions, carbon dioxide removals are now at the centre of the climate conversation. Governments are responding by looking for technological fixes, and one of the most often discussed is Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). 

But the belief that BECCS would remove emissions is based on the faulty assumption that bioenergy is carbon neutral. This is not the case. BECCS is unworkable at scale and even in a best-case scenario it is unlikely to achieve significant carbon dioxide removals. BECCS would also have massive social, environmental and economic costs. It offers the false promise of a get-out clause and must not be allowed to distract from the urgent need to stop burning fossil fuels and to protect and restore forests, soils and other ecosystems. 

This briefing note is based on a literature review of studies on BECCS. It outlines six reasons why policy makers planning decarbonization pathways for 2050 or beyond must not rely on BECCS to achieve negative emissions.

Focusing on Forest Ecosystem Service values – online-survey kicked-off

Within the Sumforest ERA-Net project POLYFORES “Decision-making support for Forest Ecosystem Services in Europe” an online survey has been launched to assess in what ways citizens value Forest Ecosystem Services (FES). Of major interest are respondents’ attitudes concerning trade-offs and synergies in FES use and provision and how these manifest in how citizens prioritise among FES, both as individuals and for society.

The survey coordinators at the EFI Forest Policy Research Network at BOKU in Vienna kindly ask for your participation in the survey (Link: Moreover, the distribution in your relevant respective networks would be highly appreciated. The survey has a duration of approximately 20 minutes and is so far available in English, Russian, German and Spanish.

For more information on the POLYFORES project and this survey visit or follow us on Twitter (@ForestValues).

Young People in European Forests (YPEF) study contest

YPEF is an international contest for students, which aims for education on forest, forestry and ecology in European countries. The knowledge base (learning material) covers forest and forestry of Europe as a whole and in the participating countries respectively. YPEF has been organized by forestry institutions and non-governmental organizations from participating European countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Ukraine) for 9 years.

There are two stages – a national and an international stage – of the contest. The contest rules of the national stage are quite flexible: you can start with few teams and select the best from them according to a quiz based on the booklet published on the YPEF website. Even it is possible to delegate the winner of a study competition of similar themes and there's an opportunity for organizing the national stage with another organization together as well.

Perspectives and Challenges of the Woodworking Industries in Europe – Focus on European Woodworking Sector Attractiveness

The 2nd Seminar of the Joint European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois)/ European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW)/ European Wood-based Panels Federation (EPF) European-funded project “Perspectives and challenges of the Woodworking Industries in Europe” took place on the 30 of November 2018 in Lisbon.

It was preceded, on the 29 of November 2018, by a training workshop and the official signature of the voluntary agreement between EPF and EFBWW on the European Action Guide on Formaldehyde. Itsets a new level of safety in the workplace, estimated to be introduced up to five years ahead of any possible legislative requirement.

The Seminar was organised around the theme of the European Woodworking Sector Attractiveness and provided a good insight on the strengths and challenges the sector’s image is facing today, as well as some concrete examples of the best practices and solutions that have been tested and/or implemented in Croatia, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom and Belgium.

The Marcus Wallenberg Prize for findings on the nutrition of trees

The 2018 Marcus Wallenberg Prize of SEK 2 million is awarded to Professor Torgny Näsholm for his groundbreaking research of the role of organic nitrogen in the nutrition of trees.
King Carl XVI Gustaf presented the prize Monday 24 September.
Professor Torgny Näsholm, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden, has examined the role of amino acids in supplying the nitrogen required for the growth of forest trees. His work has caused a breakthrough in explaining the nutrition of plants.For his discoveries Torgny Näsholm is awarded the 2018 Marcus Wallenberg Prize. He received his diploma from the hands of His Majesty the King of Sweden at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday 24 September 2018. – I feel happy and honoured to be rewarded, Torgny Näsholm said.

With a little help of amino acids
The ability of boreal forests to take up atmospheric carbon dioxide and produce wood depends on the availability of nitrogen in the soil. The growth of most forests is however limited by a low supply of nitrogen.
Some species have developed symbioses with bacteria that can process nitrogen gas into amino acids. More than a century ago some plants were demonstrated to have the capability of taking up amino acids directly. The process was not considered important until the isotopic methods were further developed and could simplify chemical analyses of different elements.

[full article] [MWP]

Cool Forests at Risk?/IBFRA18 Conference

From 17 - 20 September, the "Cool Forests" conference was held under the auspices of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Schloss Laxenburg. The event was co-organized with the International Boreal Forest Research Association (IBFRA), the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the Pan-Eurasian Experiment (PEEX).

More than 100 scientific lectures and 40 scientific posters brought together the expertise of scientists from around 30 countries. In addition to Austria and its direct neighbouring countries, countries such as Finland, Japan, Canada, Korea, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Sweden or Spain were also represented.

In addition to exchanging state-of-the-art research on the broad field of boreal and mountain forests (Cool Forests), the conference has been successful in strengthening the dialogue between scientists and stakeholders from politics, business and civil society.

By bringing together around 200 representatives from science, politics, business and civil society the conference was able to gather the knowledge and expertise of well-known and junior scientists, formulate clear messages and discuss these with experts from politics, business and civil society in the science stakeholder dialogues.

The results of this process will feed into a “Cool Forests Policy Brief” to be published early 2019 and made widely accessible and available.

For more information on the conference outcome and next steps (such as the "Cool Forests Session" at the XXV IUFRO World Congress 2019 in Brazil) have a look at our website:

FSC’s presence in global wood production

A recent analysis across FSC forest management audit reports revealed that approximately 423 million cubic meters of wood are harvested per year in FSC-certified forests worldwide. This represents 22,6% of the global industrial roundwood production.

This number represents the maximum volume of FSC-certified wood which is potentially globally available. A margin of uncertainty of +/- 5% has to be considered.

Compared to the 2016 FAO wood production data, this volume corresponds to:

  • 22,6% of global industrial roundwood production (all roundwood excluding fuel wood);
  • 11,3% of global roundwood production (which includes industrial roundwood and fuel wood).

To measure FSC-certified wood volumes, data from the most recent public reports of all 1509 independently verified forest management certificates were analyzed in 2017. Of these reports, 1138 reported volumes on a voluntary basis and in a non-standardized way. An estimate was made for the remaining 371 certificates. The reports covered an area of just under 200 million hectares of forests.

“The 200 million hectares of FSC-certified forests in the world correspond to an area larger than Chile, Vietnam, New Zealand, Gabon and the UK combined,” says Jeremy Harrison, Chief Marketing Officer at FSC International. “Not only does FSC ensure the highest standards of responsible forest management, but this new indication of the market share shows that FSC certification is becoming an important factor in global forest products markets.”

The results of this analysis have also been published in the recently released FAO State of the World’s Forest 2018.

2018 Experience Forests, Experience PEFC Photo Contest

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) organized the ‘Experience Forests, Experience PEFC’ photo contest for the second time this year.

Between International Day of Forests in March and World Environment Day in June, photographers and forest lovers from around the world were asked to share what forests meant to them. PEFC received more than 12,000 stunning photos showing wildlife, work, leisure and learning in the forest.

The PEFC International jury chose Kyoko Harada with her photo ‘Digging Bamboo Shoots in Spring’ as the winner of the photo contest. Taken in the Chiba Prefecture in eastern Japan, the image shows the photographer’s family digging bamboo shoots, while learning about the blessings of the forest.

While each photo entered into the contest tells its own story, combined, they highlight the rich diversity and the various functions of forests around the globe. While for some they provide food and shelter, for others, forests are places to work, relax or learn about nature.

From sun pierced trees to endangered animals and enchanted woods – the winning photos display the wonders of the world’s forests.

Forest stakeholders discuss consequences of the LULUCF Regulation for the EU forest-based sector

A joint workshop on the practical impact of the Regulation for the inclusion of Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) within the 2030 EU Climate and Energy framework took place on 25 September 2018, Tuscany Region Office in Brussels, Rond-point Robert Schuman 14, Brussels, Belgium. The workshop was organized by EUSTAFOR, EOS, CEPI and CEPF and  supported by CEI-Bois.

The Regulation on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy was adopted by the Council on 14 May 2018, following the European Parliament vote on 17 April 2018. The Regulation ensures the implementation of the political agreement  that the land use sector, along with other sectors, contributes to the EU’s 2030 emission reduction target. It is also in line with the Paris Agreement, which points to the critical role of the land use sector in reaching the long-term climate mitigation objectives.

To support the Member States in complying with the LULUCF Regulation, a technical guidance document was prepared by IIASA for DG Climate Action in July 2018. The aim of this document is to assist the Member States in establishing Forest Reference Levels (FRLs) and National Forestry Accounting Plans (NFAPs) as required by the LULUCF Regulation.

The workshop aimed to assess how the new LULUCF regulation will, or can be, implemented as well as its potential impacts on forest management and on the EU forest‑based sector. The main focus was on the planning of future harvesting levels and the potential implications for the domestic wood supply in the EU, specifically on the down-stream value chains.

[Link to the workshop ] [Workshop proceedings] [Moderator’s conclusions]

EU Bioeconomy Strategy seeks for a systematic approach to address the bioeconomy value chain

On 11 October 2018, the European Commission published the updated EU Bioeconomy Strategy: A sustainable Bioeconomy for Europe. EUSTAFOR, along with forest owner organisations CEPF and Copa & Cogeca, welcomed this long-awaited strategy supporting the development of a sustainable, circular bioeconomy in the European Union.

The updated strategy acknowledges that the bioeconomy has the potential to create competitiveness and new jobs at local level, especially in rural and remote areas. Furthermore, the bioeconomy is seen as a fundamental component to tackle climate change. Renewable biomaterials, such as wood, have a great potential to replace carbon as an alternative to non-renewable materials.

The three stakeholder organizations underlined that, in order to attract investments, the market needs to have a clear political direction, supported by a long-term vision on the European bioeconomy, ambitious goals and adequate monitoring. They welcomed the systemic approach of the new Bioeconomy Strategy.

In 2016 EUSTAFOR published its understanding of the role of state forests in boosting the bioeconomy, whereas last year eight policy messages on how sustainable forestry enables the bioeconomy were addressed to European policymakers

The Joint Press Release is available under this link.



Forest Products Annual Market Review 2017-2018

The Forest Products Annual Market Review 2017-2018 provides a comprehensive analysis of markets in the UNECE region and reports on the main market influences outside the UNECE region. It covers the range of products from the forest to the end-user: from roundwood and primary processed products to value-added and housing. Statistics-based chapters analyse the markets for wood raw materials, sawn softwood, sawn hardwood, wood-based panels, paper, paperboard and woodpulp.

Other chapters analyse policies and markets for wood energy. Underlying the analysis is a comprehensive collection of data. The Review highlights the role of sustainable forest products in international markets. Policies concerning forests and forest products are discussed, as well as the main drivers and trends. The Review also analyses the effects of the current economic situation on forest products markets. Read more...

Who owns the forest? - The complexity of forest ownership and tenure in the UNECE region

Forests cover 42 percent of the UNECE region, which embraces countries of North America, Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Forests are not only the dominant type of land cover but also a critical element for ecosystem maintenance and sustainability. While studies and reports on the region’s forests undertaken so far provided extensive information on their state and functions in general, there is little information about their owners and managers.

To address this gap and to learn more about forest ownership, how it is changing, and the implications for management and policy, the UNECE and FAO, in cooperation with the COST Action FACESMAP as well as with support of the European forest owners’ organizations developed a study on the “State of Forest Ownership in the UNECE Region”, based on a survey of national data and expert opinion.

Although over 80 percent of the UNECE region’s forests are publicly owned, the region is characterized by the most diverse ownership structures in the world. However, apart from Canada and the Russian Federation which share almost two thirds of the UNECE region’s forests, in the remaining part of the region the shares of public and private forests are almost equal. Within the two broadest categories of ownership, public and private, forests are owned and managed through a variety of tenure and institutional arrangements. Pan-European region adds to this complex picture even more than the others.

[press release] [extract of the publication] [inter-active database] [ownership website]

Paying for priceless values: forests’ role for water quality

Given the many threats to global water supply, forest management and planning will increasingly need to deploy strategies for optimizing watershed services – such as water purification, the regulation of surface flows, and erosion control. The services provided by forest ecosystems for water quality are largely underestimated. The joint UNECE and FAO study “Forests and Water – Valuation and payments for forest ecosystem services” showcases how payments for ecosystem services schemes can be applied to forests, in particular focusing on forest’s hydrological functions for the mutual benefit of both humans and the environment.

In addition, this study contains the most comprehensive database of case studies currently available on water-related payment for forest ecosystem service schemes in the UNECE region. Overall 259 schemes were identified in 23 UNECE member States, most of them located in the European Union and North America.

[press release] [publication] [ecosystem services website]

Green Jobs in the Forest Sector

ECE/TIM/DP/71, the study Green Jobs in the Forest Sector provides an overview of existing Green Forest Jobs and identifies possible areas for future activities and jobs in the forest sector, and may serve as starting point for further analysis and discussion on the future of Green Forest Jobs.

It offers a framework for classifying Green Forest Jobs under seven thematic work areas, outlined in the seven main sections of the study, with a particular focus on major trends, needs and challenges as well as opportunities and prospects for the forest sector.

The findings suggest that to promote Green Jobs in the forest sector it is key to: (i) look at forest ecosystem services management as the frame for Green Forest Jobs; (ii) recognize the progress made in the development of Green Forest Jobs and to identify avenues for the future; (iii) enhance the public perception of jobs in the forest sector; (iv) revise existing curricula and develop new ones for catering to the needs of the sector to close the skills gaps; and (v) to facilitate an inclusive transition to green economy through training and support.
Read more..

Ireland’s Third National Forest Inventory

The 2006 National Forest Inventory (NFI) was the first statistical and multi-resource inventory carried out on the national forest estate. In order to assess changes in the forest estate over time repeated assessments are required. The second NFI was completed in 2012.

A third cycle of the NFI was carried between 2015 and 2017 which involved a detailed nationwide field survey of Ireland's forests using a set of 1,923 permanent sample plots based on a randomised systematic grid sample design. The field data collection began in November 2015 and was completed in June 2017. Data processing and analysis were then undertaken and completed in June 2018.

On all occasions multi-resource information was recorded including information on forest area and species composition, growing stock volume, biodiversity, health, and carbon content; for the entire national forest estate. The repeated NFI cycles have provided results on aspects such as forest area change, volume increment and latest felling volume estimates. This facilitates the assessment of changes in the state of Ireland’s forests over time.

Substitution effects of wood-based products climate change mitigation

A new science-policy report from the European Forest Institute demonstrates that using wood-based products to substitute greenhouse gas intensive-materials can have important climate benefits.

The authors reviewed 51 existing studies to provide an up-to-date synthesis of scientific knowledge on the greenhouse gas emissions of products made from wood and from alternative materials, over their entire lifetime.

The study concludes that for each ton of C in wood products that substitute non-wood products, average emissions are reduced by approximately 1.2 ton C. Expressed in a different unit, this corresponds to about 2.2 ton of CO2 emissions reduction per ton of wood product. The substitution effects vary significantly, depending on the wood product and technology that is considered and the methods used to estimate emissions. The study is published on 28.11.2018 and is freely downloadable:

Missing Pathways to 1.5°C: The role of the land sector in ambitious climate action

Missing Pathways to 1.5°C: The role of the land sector in ambitious climate action is a new report by the Climate Land Ambition and Rights Coalition which shows how we can protect the climate while safeguarding land rights, biodiversity and food. The report examines three overlapping crises: climate change, biodiversity loss and the growing land and other rights abuses against Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

It challenges the assumption that to deal with the climate crisis we need to look to geoengineering solutions such as Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and concludes with an inspiring vision of our future. A future which includes strong implementation of human rights, indigenous land rights and the right to food; and the protection and restoration of healthy ecosystems.

It is also available as an executive summary outlining the key issues.

State of the Mediterranean Forests 2018: a critical natural resource to help address climate and demographic changes is experiencing increasing degradation

In collaboration with Plan Bleu, FAO recently published its latest report on the State of Mediterranean Forests 2018 (SOMF2018). The study covers the circum-Mediterranean region, a territory spanning three continents and encompassing thirty-one countries, with a wide range of political, economic, social and environmental contexts and an extremely rich natural and cultural heritage. 

Currently the most authoritative survey of the Mediterranean’s 88 million hectares of forests, SOMF2018 highlights a major concern. Despite a two-percent increase in forest area between 2010 and 2015, factors such as climate change, wildfires and water scarcity are increasing forest degradation. Following an overview of key trends and figures and main drivers of forest degradation in the region, the report concludes by urging countries to scale up action on forest and landscape restoration through the adoption of a package of measures to help reverse this trend:

  • thinning and planting mixed tree species to reduce the impact of droughts;
  • new firefighting policies that look beyond suppressing fires and include preventative vegetation management, preparedness and restoration activities;
  • a regional forest strategy and common policies;
  • strengthening forest value chains;
  • increasing Mediterranean forests’ role in and contributions to the green economy, through green-growth-related strategies;
  • increasing forests, parks, and vegetable gardens in urban areas;
  • creating stronger private-public partnerships for forest management; and
  • applying FAO's guidelines on restoring degraded forests and landscapes.

Read more in the FAO news article “Mediterranean forest area on the rise but increasingly in jeopardy”.

La forêt suisse et ses nombreux propriétaires : une analyse de l’Office fédérale de l’environnement

Les quelque 13 000 km2 de forêts suisses appartiennent à près de 250 000 propriétaires. Une analyse effectuée par l’Office fédéral de l’environnement explique les différents types de propriétaires en présentant la relation qu’ils entretiennent avec leur forêt et les objectifs qu’ils poursuivent à travers l’exploitation de celle-ci.

Un tiers de la forêt suisse environ appartient à quelque 245 000 particuliers. Au total, 85 % de la forêt privée est gérée de manière active.
L’analyse distingue cinq types de propriétaires. Les « indifférents » (soit le groupe le plus important avec 35 % des propriétaires privés) n’ont jamais réfléchi aux objectifs qu’ils souhaitent atteindre avec leur forêt. Les « récolteurs » (21 %) veulent en premier lieu produire du bois. Les « généralistes » (17 %) estiment que toutes les prestations forestières sont importantes. Les « altruistes » (16 %) n’accordent pas d’importance à la production de bois. Les « protecteurs de la nature » (11 %), enfin, accordent beaucoup d’importance à la diversité des espèces. Pour en savoir plus :

PEFC approves new SFM standard

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) approved its new Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) standard on the organization’s General Assembly on 14 November. The standard provides the basis for the requirements that forest owners or managers must meet to achieve PEFC certification.

Extending the impact of PEFC certification beyond forests, the revised standard enhances its contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Social requirements were expanded to include regulated working hours and minimum wages for forest workers, while enhanced provisions safeguard the interests of indigenous peoples and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of traditional and local knowledge (SDG 2 and 4). The revised standard also promotes gender equality (SDG 5), equal opportunities for employment and non-discrimination (SDG 8 and 10).

By including Trees outside Forests (ToF) in the revised standard, PEFC certification was made accessible to the millions of farmers and smallholders that do not own or manage forests, but rather trees on agricultural or settlement land. Before the revision of the standard, they were outside the scope of certification.

As all PEFC standards, also the revised SFM standard went through a detailed, consensus-driven and open development process and will be revised on a regular basis.

New publication: Sustainable Bamboo Development

For Ximena Londoño, President of the Colombia Bamboo Society, finding out more about bamboo’s potential is a no-brainer. “In these historic times, the sustainable development of bamboo is a common-sense premise”, she writes in the foreword to the new book Sustainable Bamboo Development. However, despite bamboo’s many uses, the development of this sector has been hampered by an ongoing “clash of opinions” in media.

Enter Sustainable Bamboo Development, a book which Londoño describes as a way to “help demonstrate to people that communities can be transformed through the cultivation of bamboo.” Written by Zhu Zhaohua and Jin Wei and published by the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International earlier this year, the book presents 40 cases of bamboo development across some 20 countries, including a number which were facilitated by the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR). A large number of studies focus on different regions of China, a country whose bamboo sector is estimated to be valued at $30 billion, and show the potential for bamboo to contribute to economic growth, job creation and environmental protection in other countries.

Hans Friederich, Director General of the INBAR, praised the book’s contribution to the development of the bamboo sector. “As a network of Members, INBAR has spent many years sharing our knowledge and expertise from our host country, China, to other countries – and so I am delighted to see Sustainable Bamboo Development doing just that.”

Sustainable Bamboo Development can be purchased here.


The Montréal Wood Convention: the wood trade event in Canada

The Montréal Wood Convention 2019 will take place March 19-22 at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth hotel in Montréal, Canada. The 2018 edition brought together nearly 1,000 participants from March 20 to 22 and more than 110 exhibitors. In addition to Canadians from 7 provinces and Americans from 26 states, the Convention welcomed visitors from Mexico, France, China, Japan, Germany, Austria, Hong Kong, Jordan and Senegal.

“The Convention is really the trade event to be where all North-American wood manufacturers and buyers can meet in the same place at the same time. Participants can attend industry seminars on economy and wood markets, visit the exhibit hall, hear a keynote speaker and network”, says the manager of the event, Sven Gustavsson, from the Quebec Wood Export Bureau, one of the four organizing industry associations. For more information:

2019 Timberland Investment Conference Information

Conference registration is now live. If you would like to register, click “register now” to be redirected to our vendor site, the UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel. The registration website also lists additional information about the conference.

[meeting website]

22nd European Forum on Urban Forestry

EFUF 2019 – Urban Forests: Full of Energy (22/05 – 24/05/2019)

Urban forests are vibrant places for multifaceted recreational activities, social gathering and mental restoration, but also provide biomass for an urban bioeconomy. They are full of energy. And so is the venue of this years’ conference: the  German Sport University Cologne – the perfect location to explore energetic interactions of trees and human beings.

The 22nd European Forum on Urban Forestry will be full of energy. We will focus on the urban forest as …

  • … the healthy forest: sport, wellbeing and human health
  • … the spiritual forest: culture, religion and art
  • … the learning forest: research, laboratories and education
  • … the co-designed forest: diverging interests, governance and urban forest management

Learn more about our focus here.

The Call for Abstracts is now open (deadline: 1st of February 2019).

How to contribute? Deadline to provide contributions to the next issue is 15 March 2019. Please note that the content of the billboard does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. Contributions are published as received and editing is the responsibility of the contributor. More information and the previous issues are available here.

We work in Collaboration with the Global Forest Information Service.