FOREST AREA DESIGNATED FOR PRODUCTIVE PURPOSES
This indicates to what extent forest areas have been set aside for production, either by legal prescription or by decision of the landowner or manager. Forest designation is reported in two ways: ‘primary function’ and ‘total area with function’. Forest areas with a specific, designated function considered to be significantly more important than other functions are reported as ‘primary function’. All areas with a designated function (not necessarily primary) are reported as ‘total area with function’.
Of the 229 countries and areas covered by FRA 2005, 172 provided information on forests designated primarily for productive purposes. For 2005, 141 of these reported having areas where production is designated as the primary function, and only 82 countries reported on total area with function. The countries reporting data on areas designated primarily for production account for 94 percent of the global forest area. In a few subregions, however, reporting countries account for a lower proportion of total forest area, i.e. the Caribbean, Central America and Western and Central Africa (Figure 5.2).
The countries that reported data on total area with function account for only 41 percent of the global forest area (Figure 5.3). Asia, North America and South America show higher then average reporting coverage, while Africa, the Caribbean, Europe (due to the absence of reporting by the Russian Federation) and Oceania show coverage below 15 percent.
The remaining countries/areas either did not report or reported that no information was available. These countries may still have areas designated for production, but they are either included in other categories, such as ‘multiple use’, or cannot be quantified
Table 5.1 shows a summary by region/subregion of the 2005 status of areas designated primarily for productive purposes.
At the global level, 34 percent of total forest area has production designated as its main purpose. In Europe, some 73 percent of forest area has production as the primary function, while North America reported only 6 percent designated for production – instead reporting most of its forests as designated for multiple use. This indicates a clear regional difference in the perception of forest designation.
Data on total area with function are too weak to allow a breakdown by region and subregion. Globally, 54 percent of forest area was reported as designated for productive purposes, whether as the primary or secondary function. This figure can be seen as a global estimate of the area of forest available for the supply of wood and non-wood forest products.
The analysis of trends in area of forest designated primarily for production is based on the countries that reported a complete time series (163 countries representing 90 percent of the global forest area). The results are shown in Table 5.2.
Globally, there is a slight decreasing tendency for area of forest with production as the primary function. Many regions/subregions follow the global trend, while others (e.g. Asia and South America) show an irregular pattern. In the case of Asia, Myanmar adopted a new classification in 2000, adding some 20 million hectares as primarily designated for production. For South America, most countries are either stable or reporting a steady increase. Peru, however, reported a decrease of about 15 million hectares since 2000.
PRODUCTIVE FOREST PLANTATIONS
Forest plantations – a subset of all planted forests – are defined as forests of introduced species and in some cases native species, established through planting or seeding, with few species, even spacing and/or even-aged stands. Productive forest plantations are defined as forest plantations predominantly intended for the provision of wood, fibre and non-wood forest products.
Productive plantations can also provide protective, recreational, amenity and other functions, which are not precluded by the harvesting of products.
Some forests classified as semi-natural include planted trees of native species, most of which are used for productive purposes. As these forests do not fall under the forest plantation definition, they are not included in this analysis. The FRA 2005 thematic study on planted forests provides a more detailed analysis of both forest plantations and the planted forest component of semi-natural forests (see Chapter 2, Box 2.1).
Information on the area of productive forest plantations forms part of country reporting on forest characteristics. Out of 229 countries, 174 provided information for 2005 and 168 information for all three reporting years: 1990, 2000 and 2005. The countries providing information account for 93 percent of the global forest area (Figure 5.4). Unfortunately, information is missing from many of the smaller islands and areas and from many of the countries in the Congo Basin.
Some countries experienced difficulty in differentiating between predominantly productive or protective functions, because their forest plantations are managed for multiple purposes.
"The total area of productive forest plantations reported in 2005 was about 109 million hectares, which corresponds to 2.8 percent of the global forest area. The area by region and subregion is presented in Table 5.3.
Subregions reporting the greatest area of productive forest plantations are East Asia, Europe and North America, together accounting for about 63 percent of global productive forest plantations. In East Asia most of the plantations are found in China, and in North America in the United States.
Subregions reporting the least area of productive forest plantations are the African subregions, the Caribbean, Central America and Western and Central Asia.
In many subregions, the majority of the productive forest plantations are found in just a few countries. In the East Asia subregion, 95 percent of the productive forest plantations are found in China. In South and Southeast Asia, 68 percent are in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. In Western and Central Asia, 98 percent are found in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in Turkey. Canada, which acknowledges that it has forest plantations, had insufficient data for area reporting. Thus in North America, 99.6 percent of the reported forest plantations are in the United States. In Eastern and Southern Africa, 51 percent are in South Africa; in Western and Central Africa, 71 percent are in Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal; and in Northern Africa, 96 percent are in Ethiopia, Morocco and the Sudan. The Russian Federation has 55 percent of the productive forest plantations in Europe; Australia and New Zealand 93 percent of those in Oceania; and Argentina, Brazil and Chile 82 percent of those in South America.
The ten countries with the greatest area of productive forest plantations account for 79.5 million hectares or 73 percent of the total global area of productive forest plantations (Figure 5.5). China, the United States and the Russian Federation together account for more than half the world’s productive plantations.
Trends were reported for the 168 countries providing information for all three reporting years. The main results of this analysis are presented in Table 5.4. At the global level, the area of productive forest plantations increased by 2.0 million hectares per year during 1990–2000, and by 2.5 million hectares per year during 2000–2005, an increase of 23 percent compared with the 1990–2000 period. In relative terms, productive forest plantations accounted for 1.9 percent of total global forest area in 1990, 2.4 percent in 2000 and 2.8 percent in 2005.
All subregions except Northern Africa show an increase in productive forest plantations. However, the annual change varies considerably among subregions. The greatest increase by far is in East Asia, mainly due to the reported large-scale establishment of forest plantations in China.
Table 5.5 presents trends for the ten countries with the largest area of productive forest plantations. Table 5.6 shows trends for the ten countries with the greatest annual increase in productive plantations.
China reported the greatest annual increase for the last five-year period, followed by the Russian Federation and the United States. These three countries together account for 71 percent of the global annual increase in productive forest plantations.