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Workshop on Estimating Potential Sustainable Wood Supply

30 March 2009

Please find here the Workshop programme. A paper on potential wood supply was prepared for the European Forest Week and is available here.  A background paper prepared for the workshop compares national and international estimates and reviews methodology and best practices. Finally, you can also view and download the presentations from the workshop to learn more about the issues discussed. Finally, you can view the Conclusions and Recommendations for the Workshop.


“How much wood is available on a sustainable basis for energy and raw material in Europe?” This question has become urgent in the light of the ambitious targets for biomass energy being adopted at national and European level, and the necessity to look at all sources of wood – not only the forest, but also industry and logging residues, recovered wood and trees outside the forest, as well as forest extension onto agricultural land.

Scientists and officials have been working intensely at this issue for some years, and preliminary results are available for many regions and types of wood. UNECE/FAO, with its partners, has made several significant contributions. However the overall picture is still not clear. Among the major issues to be clarified are the potential of tree biomass, recovered wood and trees outside the forest, and the economic, social and ecological conditions which will determine the wood availability. This workshop aims to bring together recent work and to propose an overall assessment of potential sustainable wood supply, based on all available information, for review by national and international experts. This assessment would then be valuable input to policy makers, in the forest sector and the energy sector.

Given the fact that many countries have acquired new expertise in recent years, and that there are many problems in aggregating results of studies undertaken with different methodologies, there may be a need for a good practice guidelines in the field of estimating potential wood supply to help new entrants and enhance comparability of results.


  • Exchange and share national experiences between countries that have already conducted potential wood supply studies and others that can learn about the difficulties and challenges
  • Discuss the methodology and findings of the UNECE/FAO draft study on “Potential Sustainable Wood Supply in Europe”, so that a revised estimate, incorporating the views of national experts is available by autumn 2009
  • Bring together national correspondents and resource specialists in order to discuss the methodologies, definitions and results of wood potential studies in general, and consider whether good practice guidelines in this field should be drawn up
  • Finally, contribute to building a comprehensive and reliable picture of potential wood supply as input to energy and forest policies making

Outcome and Follow-up

  • Review regional and national potential wood supply as regards methods and results
  • Revised version of the UNECE/FAO study on “Potential Sustainable Wood Supply in Europe”
  • A good practice guide on wood supply studies (scope, terminology, appropriate methods) (if considered appropriate by the workshop)
  • The results of the workshop shall help to prepare a study that can be used as input to the workshop on “Wood Mobilization” hosted by the French government in June 2009, which will focus on methods and policies, less on estimating quantities available.