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This chapter contains information about world forestry, presenting global figures by region alongside data for the UK and the EU. Topics covered include woodland area, carbon stocks, wood removals, production and apparent consumption of wood products and international trade in forest products.

The data are produced by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Further information on the data sources and methodology used to compile the figures is provided in the Sources chapter.

All of the statistics presented in this chapter have been previously released by the FAO. For further details on revisions, see the International Forestry section of the Sources chapter.

Data for the European Union (EU) relate to all 28 current EU members for all of the years shown.

A copy of all International Forestry tables is available to download from the Tables for Download page.

Key findings

The main findings are:

  • At around 13% forest cover in 2015, the UK is one of the least densely forested countries in Europe. This compares with 38% for the EU as a whole and 31% worldwide.
  • The global forest area reduced by around 3.3 million hectares (0.1%) per year between 2010 and 2015.
  • Carbon stocks in forest living biomass have increased in both Europe and North & Central America between 2010 and 2015, but have decreased at a global level.
  • A total of 3.7 billion m3 underbark of wood was removed from global forests in 2014, of which around one half (50%) was for use as woodfuel and the remainder was industrial roundwood (for use by wood processors).
  • Global production of wood products in 2014 totalled 439 million m3 of sawnwood, 388 million m3 of wood-based panels and 400 million tonnes of paper & paperboard.
  • Europe consumed around one quarter (24%) of all sawnwood, around two fifths (20%) of the world’s wood-based panels and around one quarter (23%) of all paper and paperboard in 2014.
  • There has been a large increase in the demand for and production of sawnwood and wood-based panels in Asia between 2010 and 2014.
  • The UK was the third-largest net importer (imports less exports) of forest products in 2014, behind China and Japan.
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