Last week, I noted that the recent news regarding world's forest has been good. Here are some positive reports and figures:

Elizabeth Baldwin Green Blog Jungle Views.jpgThe Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has released a global satellite survey of forest cover noting that total forest loss is 32% lower than had been thought over the last 15 years.  The Forest Resource Assessment (FRA) previously reported a loss of 107 million ha between 1990 and 2005, whereas the new survey reports a loss of 73 million ha for that same time with Asia showing net gains from 1995-2010. (The full report is available here, and other publications can be found here.)

According to the latest Chatham House report on the world's forests, the "total global production of illegal timber has fallen by 22 percent since 2002. The report goes on to state that "illegal logging has dropped by 50 percent in Cameroon, by between 50 and 75 percent in the Brazilian Amazon, and by 75 percent in Indonesia in the last decade. This reduction, documented in three of the five tropical timber producers studied, has prevented the degradation of up to 17 million hectares of forest, an area larger than England and Wales combined."

The ITTO reports significant increases in Sustainably Managed Forests (SFM) and certified forest volumes in permanent forest estates (PFE) around the world. Some key notes from their report :

  • The area of certified natural-forest production PFE increased in each region between 2005 and 2010. In all three regions combined, the certified forest area grew from 10.5 million hectares to 17.0 million hectares, an increase of 63% (1.3 million hectares per year). In percentage terms the biggest growth was in Africa, where the certified forest area more than tripled, from 1.48 million hectares to 4.63 million hectares.
  • The area of production PFE considered to be under SFM increased between the 2005 and 2010 surveys, from 25.2 million hectares to 30.6 million hectares, an increase of about 20%.
  • The estimated area of protection PFE with forest management plans in 2010 (51.9 million hectares) is significantly higher than the estimate made for 2005 (17.8 million hectares). The largest regional increase in percentage terms was in Africa, and the largest in terms of gross area was in Latin America and the Caribbean. Part of the overall increase in 2010 may be due to better information … Nevertheless, there has also been a real expansion in the use of management plans for protected areas.
  • The estimated area of sustainably managed protection PFE more than doubled over the period, from 11.2 million hectares in 2005 to 22.7 million hectares in 2010. This increase was due mostly to a near-tripling of the area in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.
And, of course, the U.S. hardwood industry is rightly proud to note that even with an increase in production and international demand, overall standing timber volumes have doubled in the last 50 years.

It is great to see positive news for the forests from all around the world!

Elizabeth Baldwin has over 20 years of international wood sourcing experience. Very widely traveled, her résumé's "Special Skills" section includes "the ability to eat anything from raw horse to deep-fried scorpion." She serves as Metropolitan Hardwood Flooring's (metrofloors.com) ECO (Environmental Compliance Officer) and deals daily with the "green alphabet soup" of today's industry: FSC, CARB, LEED, and much more. She blogs for Hardwood Floors on all things green (and, as she says, " 'grey' and 'blue' and almost every color except 'black and white.' Nothing in this world is black and white, particularly not 'green issues.'")