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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 27 current EU members, excluding the UK, for all the years shown. Data for Europe cover 26 of the EU members (excluding Cyprus), Russia and a number of other European countries, including Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and Ukraine. Cyprus is included in the EU total, but is part of FAO’s Asia region and is thus not included in the Europe total.

A copy of all International Forestry tables can be accessed in spreadsheet format from the Data Downloads page.

Key findings

The main findings are:

  • At around 13% forest cover in 2020, the UK is one of the least densely forested countries in Europe. This compares with 46% for Europe as a whole and 31% worldwide.
  • The global forest area reduced by around 4.7 million hectares (0.1%) per year between 2010 and 2020.
  • Carbon stocks in forest living biomass have increased in Europe, North & Central America and Asia between 1990 and 2020, but have shown an overall decrease at a global level over this period.
  • A total of 3.9 billion m3 underbark of wood was removed from global forests in 2020, of which around one half (49%) was used as woodfuel and the remainder as industrial roundwood (for use by wood processors).
  • Global production of wood products in 2020 totalled 473 million m3 of sawnwood, 368 million m3 of wood-based panels and 401 million tonnes of paper and paperboard.
  • Europe consumed 25% of all sawnwood, 22% of the world’s wood-based panels and 21% of all paper and paperboard in 2020.
  • The UK was the second-largest net importer (imports minus exports) of forest products in 2020, with net imports of US $7.6 billion. The largest net importer was China.


Chapter 9 - International Forestry

PDF, 0.81 MB

Chapter 9 in PDF format

Chapter 9 - International Forestry data set (ods)


Chapter 9 data set in OpenDocument Spreadsheet format

Chapter 9 - International Forestry data set (XLSX)


Chapter 9 data set in Excel spreadsheet format

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