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Facts on Forests and Forestry

 
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1 Introduction – Measuring progress towards sustainable forest management
2 How much forest is there on the planet and at what rate is it disappearing?
3 How can forests affect climate change?
4 What is the biological diversity of the world’s forests?
5 How healthy are the world’s forests?
6 What products are extracted from forests?
7 What are the protective effects of forests?
8 What are the economic and social benefits of forests?
9 Are forests managed in a sustainable way?
10 Conclusions

 
  A faithful summary of the "Global Forest Resources Assessment"
  produced in 2005 by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). More...
 

 

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2. How much forest is there in the world?

2.1. What are the different estimates?
2.2. Are the FAO figures reliable?
2.3. Why are there different estimates of forested land?

 
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2.1. What are the different estimates?

29% of the globe surface is land. Out of this, the FAO estimated in 2000 that 38.7 million km² (26%) were ‘forested land’. However the estimate of the WRI for 1997 is lower at 33.36 million km² while the WCMC gives a higher estimate for 1996 at 39.88 million km². More...

 

 
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2.2. Are the FAO figures reliable?

The FAO figures tend to be the reference for studies on the status of forests globally but they are challenged for several reasons:

  • The rate of loss of tropical and other forests has been criticized because it includes plantation forests in the definition of forest in developing countries.

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  • Successive reports have used different definitions of forest, making comparisons difficult. More…

 
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2.3. Why are there different estimates of forested land?

  • There are difficulties with measuring forestland, especially in remote places. Developing countries often do not have the budget or trained staff to conduct or update their forest inventory. More...

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  • Basic surveying techniques are being replaced by aerial photography and satellite imagery. These allow measurement of inaccessible forests but the interpretation of the data can be problematic. When the FAO switched to satellite measurement, its global forest cover figures jumped from 34,424 km² in 1990 to 39,522 million km2 in 2000. More...

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  • Changes in land uses are constant, so land which was deforested at one time can become forest land again some ten years later. More...
 
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23-Oct-2007

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