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Improving Data Quality on Wood Flows – Essential for Policymaking in Renewable Energy and the Forest Sector

Published: 08 April 2008

Wood energy, as a renewable source of energy, continues to increase in importance at a time of rising global prices for fossil fuels, continuing concerns over security of energy supply and new commitments to reduce CO2 emissions. At the same time, growing demand for woody raw material by the wood-processing industries has led to an acute need for up-to-date and reliable statistical information on wood sources and uses to ensure that the limits of sustainability are not crossed. This information is either not available or weak in many countries.

Empirical research, such as household and industry surveys, is needed to close these gaps and improve data and statistics. Therefore, the Timber Section of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held a workshop on “National Wood Resource Balances” in Geneva, 31 March – 1 April.

Christopher Prins, Chief of the UNECE/FAO Timber Section, said that “wood from the forest, but also from urban trees, orchards, wood residues from the industry and recovered wood, is at present the most important source of renewable energy in Europe. If Governments do not clearly understand how much is coming from what sources and for what uses, rational policymaking becomes rather difficult. The workshop has served to significantly improve knowledge and understanding – a number of countries are reporting four times more wood energy than before – but further empirical research is needed on both sources and uses of wood.”

Over 100 participants from 30 countries and various stakeholder groups attended the workshop in Geneva. The presentations, as well as the conclusions and recommendations, are available online: www.unece.org/trade/timber/workshops/2008/wood-balance/documents.htm

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Christopher Prins

Chief, Timber Section

UN Economic Commission for Europe / Food and Agriculture Organization

UNECE Trade and Timber Division

Palais des Nations

CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Phone: +41 (0) 22 917 2874

Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 0041

E-mail: info.timber@unece.org

Website: www.unece.org/timber

Ref: ECE/TIM/08/P01

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Palais des Nations, 

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 44 44

Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 05 05