• English

Forest Information Billboard
Issue 1, March-April 2015

Tbilisi, Georgia. Photograph: Elina Warsta, UNECE-FAO.

Forest Reporting

Forests in the ECE Region: Trends and Challenges in Achieving the Global Objectives on Forests 

The UNECE-FAO study Forests in the ECE Region: Trends and Challenges in Achieving the Global Objectives on Forests was launched on 20 March 2015, during the celebration of the International Day of Forests.

This study is the contribution of the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (COFFI) and the FAO European Forestry Commission (EFC) to the Eleventh Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests that will take place from 4-15 May in New York.

Using the best available data, it examines progress of the forest sector in the ECE region towards the achievement of the four Global Objectives on Forests, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007. On the basis of this assessment as well as the forest sector outlooks and policy commitments by UNECE member States, thirteen major challenges for the forest sector in the region are identified and analysed. The study provides policy recommendations for consideration in the discussions by UNFF.

The study was prepared by a team of experts, in close cooperation with national and international specialists, notably the joint ECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Monitoring SFM national data. Countries have been consulted as regards the data used and the study itself. The production of the study was supported by the Finland, Germany, the Russian Federation, Switzerland and the United States of America.

The electronic version of the report is available here. The printed version will be released during UNFF11.

One Third of Germany Covered with Forests


Germany`s Third National Forest Inventory provides new results. The forest area has remained unchanged. 11.4 million hectares are forested. The percentage of deciduous trees has risen. Less timber was used than grew back. With timber stocks of 3.7 billion cubic metres or 336 cubic metres per hectare, Germany holds a top position compared with other countries of Europe.

The English version of "The Forests in Germany" is now available. The booklet provides selected results of the Third National Forest Inventory in a way that can easily be understood by laypersons and gives an insight into status and development of forests in Germany.

The National Forest Inventory is a joint project of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Länder governments. The Thünen Institute of Forest Ecosystems is commissioned with national inventory supervision.


The report, survey instructions and selected results are available at www.bundeswaldinventur.de The English version is available here or can be ordered there under menu--service--publications.


For more information contact: Friedrich Schmitz, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, E-Mail: friedrich.schmitz@bmel.bund.de



UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section Data Collection Update

  • Joint Forest Sector Questionnaire, main annual data collection exercise covering forest products removal, production and trade. Carried out with FAO, Eurostat and ITTO.  Starts in April 2015 with data collection through October 2015.
  • Joint Wood Energy Enquiry. This started in January 2015 and data collection will continue until June 2015. Almost half of countries in the region have already provided a response.
  • Roundwood Balance. This is an attempt to provide an overview of wood availability compared to wood use for countries in the UNECE region using publicly available information (mostly based on JFSQ) with conversion factors based on ECE/FAO Discussion Paper 49.  This will be circulated to national correspondents for their comments and will be published later this year.
  • Conversion Factor questionnaire. In conjunction with FAO and ITTO, the Section will carry out another survey on conversion factors, expanding it to outside the ECE region. This will most likely start in the second half of 2015.
  • Game meat survey. Following approval by the ECE/FAO Working Party, a test survey for game meat data collection will be carried out in the UNECE region during the summer 2015.

Questions concerning the above activites can be sent to stats.timber@unece.org

ISO Goes Green on Sustainable Forest Management

by Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis

Sustainable forest management has become a critical global issue, with consumers increasingly demanding wood products supplied from “well-managed” forests. Environmental concerns, particularly the effects of illegal and indiscriminate logging resulting in forest disappearance, degradation and carbon emissions, have prompted ISO to start work on a new standard for the traceability of wood products. We asked Jorge Cajazeira, Chairman of ISO/PC 287 that is developing the future ISO 38001 standard, to tell us more.

Why is illegal logging such a big problem? How will the traceability of wood products help?

Very glad you asked. In a nutshell, illegal logging and deforestation affect the integrity and wellbeing of ecosystems and our society in many ways. First of all, they destroy biodiversity, since more than 50 % of species as we know it occurs in forest ecosystems.

In addition, illegal logging is linked to human rights violations and the displacement of people from their homes and culturally important territories. It causes severe land degradation and erosion, and increases natural hazards.

Equally important, illegal logging and deforestation can also increase greenhouse gas emissions, which worsens climate change and creates a more dangerous and difficult environment for people to live in. So it is vital that societies be assured that the wood forest products they are buying are not linked to the destruction of forests worldwide, but have their origin in sustainably managed forests.

Why did ISO create a committee on chain of custody of wood and wood-based products?

ISO/PC 287 was set up for three main reasons. First, to produce a standard that could unify the current standards on traceability of wood forest products and provide consistent information on the origin of timber. Second, to reduce the current cost of double or triple certification. And third, to increase the percentage of wood forest products traceable to their sources, essential for preventing illegal or controversial wood from getting into the supply chain of the forest industry.

What are your hopes for the future ISO standard? Any expected benefits?

The major benefit is clear. The ISO standard will enable companies to reassure their customers – and, indirectly, the global society – that the wood they are using is NOT coming from forests that are illegally harvested, degraded or deforested.

Our ultimate goal though is to develop a unifying standard that all forest companies can endorse to ensure the proper traceability of wood products, from the forest to the shelves of retailers and distributors around the world.

Several standards already exist for the supply chain of wood and wood products; how will the ISO standard be any different?

The current standards are both different and similar to one another. And that is where the problem lies. The current chain of custody (COC) systems only cover about 25 % of the productive forests around the world. Regions like Asia and Africa and the tropical forest industries, for example, are out of the scope of the current COC systems.

Our standard will balance the need for traceability with the requirement that all companies, no matter their size or the region in which they work, must be able to guarantee that the wood forest products they place on the market origin from sustainable source. But most notably, establishing a single standard will enable producers to manage their traceability systems in an efficient and transparent way and provide consumers with reliable and trustworthy information on the environmental and social integrity of wood products offered.

If you would like to get involved, please contact your national ISO member body or send us e-mail (harjung@iso.org).

Finnish Research, Development and Innovation Programme: Wood Materials and Products in the Development of Bio-Economy (MAT programme)

The importance of wood products sector is essential for the future development of forest-based bio-economy in Europe, especially in the Baltic Sea Region. The sector has been suffering from the economic slump, but bio-economy offers opportunities for new growth. Here, the needs of ecosystems and technosystems can be combined in a profitable way. Sustainability requirements create demand for new value-added wood products and services in the building and living sectors. To use the opportunities, novel business concepts, products, services, and life cycle thinking are needed. Forest biorefining calls for understanding about how to efficiently utilize the potential of raw materials and by-streams for larger range of products.

The aim of the MAT programme is to analyze new opportunities for the enterprises in the bio-economy, where value network thinking is important. Potential and profitability are analysed in the entire value chains from forest tree breeding up to wood products and their markets. Neighboring sectors and good practices are included in the analyses. The programme contains five themes: 1) wood products sector in bio-economy; 2) wood utilization, products, and services; 3) raw materials and side-streams; 4) wood measurements; and 5) genetics and wood quality. Search for international collaboration in these themes is continuously ongoing.

The MAT programme was launched in 2014. It continues in the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) up to the year 2018.

For more information contact: Programme director, prof. Erkki Verkasalo, Erkki.verkasalo@luke.fi, visit also: www.metla.fi/ohjelma/mat/index-en.htm

Consumers Believe They Can Make a Difference to the Worlds Forests

More than 80% of consumers globally want companies sourcing certified material from sustainable managed forests to use certification labels, according to the first PEFC Global Consumer Survey, released today.

The survey shows that certification labels, such as the PEFC label, are the most trusted means of giving confidence to consumers that wood-based products are sustainably sourced.

Consumers globally believe that it is important to make ethical choices, with 60% of all those surveyed agreeing that their shopping choice for a labeled product can make a positive difference to the world’s forest. Only a small minority, 10%, felt that their choice for a sustainably sourced product would not make a difference.

Moreover, nearly 30% of all consumers responded that they actively look for forest certification labels. The survey shows that PEFC is the most trusted global forest certification label, slightly ahead of FSC, the Forest Stewardship Council. Internationally, 40% of consumers know a global forest certification label; the label recognition of PEFC is at 21%.

Further information visit


Sustainable Development Goals and Forests, A summary of UNECE engagement and perspectives

This paper was produced in preparation for the 72nd session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe Committee on Forests and Forest Industry held in Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation, 18-21 November 2014, where discussions covered the role of forests in the post-2015 agenda. The paper was compiled from existing literature and describes the progress of work by the joint UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section on forests in the post-2015 agenda in the UNECE region. It outlines the political process related to the development of the SDGs and the outcomes of the workshop on ‘Forests and Sustainable Development Goals: a regional view’. The paper also summarises relevant analytical work conducted to date, and existing systems of monitoring and evaluation of all aspects related to the state of forests, forest resources, forest services and sustainable forest management, and the outlook for the goals framework, implementation and accountability from the perspective of forests.

Download here

Award Winning Recipe Book has Wild Foods from the Forest at its Heart

"Cuisine from the Forests", the recipe book produced by PEFC Spain to showcase the merits of wild food products, has been declared the Best Sustainable Cookbook in Spanish by the jury of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.            

The recipe book will now face the winners of the same category of other countries during the competition "Gourmand best in the world". The final result of the contest will be announced next June 9 at the annual gala, to be held in Yantai, China.

“This is a fantastic result for everyone on the team who worked so hard to produce this unique recipe book,” said Ana Belén Noriega, General Secretary of PEFC Spain, on behalf of the team that wrote the book. “It is extremely encouraging to see wild foods from sustainably managed Spanish forests get the recognition they deserve, and we are already looking forward to the next stage of the contest in China.”

Renowned Spanish chef, Charo Val, who collaborated with PEFC Spain to write the recipe book, highlighted the need to bring sustainable food to consumers: “We need the producers of these beautiful wild foods to put their products on the market; we all rely on the PEFC label as a guarantee of sustainable origin.”

The "Cuisine from the Forests" recipe book formed part of PEFC Spain’s Tastes of Sustainable Forests project, which aimed at promoting wild food products from well-managed forests, as well as PEFC certification in the food sector.

The book itself highlights products, techniques and practical proposals to develop a sustainable forest-scented kitchen: twenty recipes based on products that offer multiple possibilities in cooking and baking: mushrooms, truffles, herbs, pine nuts, chestnuts, honey, ham raised in pastures etc. Furthermore, all the recipe books are printed on PEFC-certified sustainably-produced paper.

The Gourmand Awards reward the best books within the world of cuisine. The competition can find its origins back in 1995 when founder Edouard Cointreau found it hard to find volumes on cooking while at the Frankfurt Book Fair. As a result he, along with a group of friends and international publishers, decided to create the World Cookbook Awards.

Try the recipes yourself! Profits from the sales will go towards funding micro-projects to ensure the care of forests, promote wild food products and develop rural areas. Buy it online here (only available in Spanish).

Natural Resources Governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has immense natural wealth. Political stability and good governance, including strong resources rights to local communities and sustainable investments, can galvanise sustainable development and enable the Congolese people to benefit from that wealth. This report highlights both key provisions and major challenges of natural resource legislation in the DRC. It suggests potential ways in which local communities, particularly marginalised populations, can play a prominent role in shaping inclusive, sustainable and equitable development.

Download here

Organisation for Locally Controlled Forest Business – Learning from Success: Proceedings of the Fourth International Forest Connect Workshop

Forest Connect is an ad hoc global alliance that shares approaches, business models and tactics to support locally controlled forest and on-farm tree enterprises. It ‘connects’ practitioners facilitating such support on the ground.

The fourth international Forest Connect meeting in Hanoi was held from 15 to 18 January 2015, hosted by Vietnam Farmers' Union (VNFU). The aim was to share and discuss findings from successful locally controlled forest business models. Discussions focused on how these lessons might best be mainstreamed within ongoing efforts to support forest producer organisations. This report details the presentations from country-specific case studies of successful locally controlled forestry businesses; a two day field visit to enterprises in Vietnam; and workshop exercises on the future of Forest Connect.

Download here

Governments Need to Lead the Way for REDD+ Delivery

Countries are establishing strong policy and institutional arrangements to develop strategies to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). But they face a number of challenges, including funding, tackling the major drivers and ensuring all the relevant actors are on board. Government regulation and leadership in financing REDD+ is vital. This will drive demand for reduced emissions and pave the way for long-term private sector investment. Climate change cannot be tackled through token actions under corporate social responsibility and the voluntary carbon market. Governments need to ensure the greening of supply chains, bringing in all relevant actors and implementing REDD+ in the context of broader development targets. They must capitalise on policies and resources to galvanise cross-sector coordination towards a sustainable development path that delivers multiple benefits.

Download here

Equitable REDD+: Exploring Concepts and Strategies

Equity means different things to different people. As this discussion paper shows, this is a reflection of different principles, frames of reference and scales. Equity is important for both moral and instrumental reasons and while there is no one right way to understand equity it is important both in terms of social and environmental objectives that there is a common understanding of equity in a particular context. This discussion paper presents and explores a framework for understanding equity in REDD+, and for strengthening the different approaches that are being used to enhance equity in REDD+. The framework may also be used as the basis for assessing equity in REDD+ as part of a process of assessing the social impacts of REDD+, although further work is needed on practical assessment methods.

Download here

Wood Energy in Developed Economies: An Overlooked Renewable

Though it is often ignored in national conversations about renewables, wood energy dominates renewable energy portfolios in many developed countries—and is poised for exponential growth. Francisco Aguilar sets the record straight about this salient energy source.


Assessing the impact of the EU Timber Regulation and FLEGT Action Plan

In 2015, the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan has been in force for 12 years, and the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) for two years. What has been the experience of these policies? How successful have they been in tackling the illegal timber trade, and what has been their impact?What are the lessons learned, and possible recommendations for further actions?

In order to address these questions, the European Forest Institute (EFI) organized a ThinkForest seminar on ‘Assessing the impact of the EU Timber Regulation and FLEGT Action Plan’ in the European Parliament, Brussels, on 21 April 2015. This event contributes to the ongoing European Commission FLEGT and EUTR evaluation process by helping to synthesise the science-input and by supporting science-policy dialogue.

More information is available here.

What We Wood Believe W3B – Societal Perceptions of the Forest-based Sector

Society’s views and demands on forests have been gradually changing. This is a challenge for the sustainability communication of the forest-based sector. The objective of the project is to create and demonstrate innovative and cost-efficient ways of communication towards different stakeholders relevant to the European forest-based sector and its products for a bio-economy.

After having identified eight relevant topics of interest that cover the forest-based sector’s contribution to sustainability, a public survey is launched in four forest-rich countries namely Finland, Germany, Austria and Slovenia. The survey will assess public knowledge and opinion on these topics and identify target groups that are in need of communication.

In order to ensure stakeholder-oriented solutions, the Second Stakeholder Workshop on April the 22nd, 9:30-13:00, Schnewlinstraße 10, 79098 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany was organized. Please join us also in the discussion about how to design and evaluate online media campaigns.

For more information contact: jessica.meyer-rachner@unique-landuse.de More information about the project and the agenda of the stakeholder workshop are available here.


Drafting Meeting for the preparations of the FOREST EUROPE Extraordinary Ministerial Conference. Madrid, Spain, 23-24 March 2015.  More information is available here.


Drafting Meeting for the preparations of the 7th FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference. Madrid, Spain, 25-27 March 2015. More information is available here.


2nd Meeting of the FOREST EUROPE Advisory Group on the updating of the pan-European Indicators for SFM. Madrid, 09-10 April 2015. This Advisory Group contributes to facilitate the updating process of the pan-European Indicators for sustainable forest management. The Advisory Group is composed of representatives from countries, stakeholders and experts with experience in the field of indicators and forest policy. More information is available here.


FOREST EUROPE Workshop on the updating of the pan-European Indicators for SFM. Madrid, 27-29 April 2015. The workshop, open to all FOREST EUROPE signatories, observers, and experts working and/or interested in SFM indicators or indicators related to them, will discuss on the updating of the pan-European Indicators for SFM. The basis for discussions at the workshop will be the outcomes of the work developed by the FOREST EUROPE Advisory Group on the updating of the pan-European Indicators for SFM, and the 2 online consultations on this matter carried out with representatives from FOREST EUROPE countries, stakeholders and experts. More information is available here.


5th Annual Vancouver Global Conference

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver - May 7, 2015

One-Day International Log, Lumber, Industry & Markets Conference

On the Way to a Global Recovery?

Visit our webpage for all information

New perspectives and outlooks on exporting regions and key markets to help you better understand new opportunities, evolving issues and possible threats to the commodity log and wood products trade (including foreign exchange risks).

In conjunction with:

Pulp & Paper Producers Council Annual Meeting May 3 – 5, 2015

PwC's 28th annual Global Forest & Paper Industry Conference - May 6, 2015

Vienna International Wood Products/Markets Conference, Expo & Tours

Vienna, Austria (and Sebes, Romania)

Five inter-related global wood industry and market events June 16 – 21, 2015

(In conjunction with) June 16: Schweighofer Prize 2015 Awards Ceremony & Reception (by invitation only)
June 17: WOOD MARKETS’ Vienna International Wood Products / Market Conference
June 17: Concurrent GRI Wood Processing Equipment & Products EXPO
June 18-19: Eastern Austria Industry Tour: Sawmills, Glu-lam, CLT, EWP in a Building Construction Site, etc.
June 20-21: Central Romania (Schweighofer, Sebes) Tour: Sawmill, Laminated Beam plant, pellets, (particleboard). Visit our webpage for all information

A unique opportunity to attend a special innovation event, participate in a unique global market conference and equipment suppliers’ expo, and tour the Austrian and Romanian wood products industries.

How to contribute? The deadline for the next issue is 15 June 2015.
More information is available here.
We work in cooperation with the Global Forest Information Service.