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Outlook for the Development of European Forest Resources

UNECE/FAO Discussion Paper 41, Outlook for the Development of European Forest Resources, provides the methodologies, data, scenarios, and results of the outlook on the European forest resources from 2000 to 2040. The aim of this forest resource study was to analyse the impacts on the European forest resources under the level of fellings needed to fulfil the derived roundwood demand according to two scenarios as provided by the market modelling project within the EFSOS framework. Thus fellings and removals presented in this study cannot be identified with a wood supply forecast in economic terms.
The study includes the forest available for wood supply (FAWS) in geographical Europe, i.e. from Ireland to the Ural mountains and from the northern tip of Lapland to the southern border of Turkey. The model outcomes are based on assumptions about the increase in FAWS as well as unchanged forest management regimes (e.g. rotation period, thinning intensity, afforestation), and growth of stands ratios between felling and removals over the analysed period.
Although removals are assumed to rise significantly, the results as presented sketch large and increasing forest resources in Europe. The growing stock increases under the baseline scenario from 51 billion m3 o.b. to 63 billion m3 o.b. in 2040, whereas the net annual increment declines only slightly from the current 1.2 billion m3 o.b o.b to 1.15 billion m3 o.b. in 2040. The FAWS area is assumed to decrease from 335 million ha to 329 million ha by the year 2040, in the base scenario. In the alternative scenario the forest area is expected to increase to 343 million ha.
The market model outcomes projected a fast increase in required fellings in the current outlook study. This demand for fellings on FAWS is foreseen to increase from 643 million m3 o.b. per year in 2000 to 847 million m3 o.b. per year in 2020 in the baseline scenario (1014 million m3 o.b. per year in the alternative). This, together with an approach that dynamically simulates age class development, shows that annual availability of roundwood may be hampered after 2020. In the baseline scenario the actual fellings in 2036-2040 were about 2% lower than the required fellings, whereas in the alternative scenario the difference was about 11% per year. In reality market mechanisms will take care of this difference, by adjusting prices, forestry management and especially trade, considering the legal restriction, which assure sustainable forestry management. These adjustments cannot be simulated with the current modelling system.