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International Forestry

Introduction

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, including the UK, for all of the years shown.  Data for Europe cover 27 of the EU members (excluding Cyprus), the Russian Federation and a number of other European countries, including Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and Ukraine.

A copy of all International Forestry tables can be accessed in spreadsheet format from the Data Downloads web page at www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/data-downloads/.  

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 3.8 billion m3 underbark of wood was removed from global forests in 2017, 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 2017 totalled 486 million m3 of sawnwood, 404 million m3 of wood-based panels and 414 million tonnes of paper & paperboard.
  • Europe consumed around one quarter (24%) of all sawnwood, around one fifth (20%) of the world's wood-based panels and around one fifth (22%) of all paper and paperboard in 2017.
  • The UK was the second largest net importer (imports less exports) of forest products in 2017, with net imports of US $7.6 billion.  The largest net importer was China.

Additional resources

Sources chapter: International Forestry

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