Forests provide people with many economic and environmental benefits. Timely and reliable statistics on forest product production and trade are crucial, not only for monitoring the contributions of the forest sector to national economies (e.g. gross domestic product) but also for assessing the environmental impacts of economic activities (e.g. System of Environmental-Economic Accounting). High-quality forest product statistics are also needed to help strengthen sustainable forest management, forest-sector planning and the formulation of forest policies.
In collaboration with other international organizations, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) have played a major global role in collecting, compiling and disseminating statistics on the production and trade of forest products. The FAO Yearbook of Forest Products, the ITTO Biennial Review and Assessment of the World Timber Situation, and the databases on which these products are based, are used widely by forest-sector policymakers, companies and researchers worldwide in policy formulation and decision-making.
Collaboration has helped increase the accuracy of forest product statistics, but there is clear scope for further improvement, including by enhancing capacity at the national and regional levels. This is a crucial part of the ongoing work of both FAO and ITTO and, to this end, a national workshop on forest product statistics, co-organized by FAO, will be held in Viet Nam to increase that country’s statistical capacity.
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