VALUE OF WOOD REMOVALS
The combined value of removals of wood and non-wood forest products is an indicator of the contribution of forests and woodlands to national economies. This information is used to develop and monitor national policies, set priorities and allocate resources.
The present analysis examines the value of wood removals from forests only (i.e. it excludes other wooded land). It does, however, include the data from eight countries that provided information for forests and other wooded land combined (Algeria, Austria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Jamaica, Jordan, Namibia and Niger). Industrial roundwood and fuelwood were reported separately for FRA 2005 and are analysed separately here.
At the global level, 109 countries, or some 42–47 percent of countries, depending on the year, reported on the value of industrial roundwood removals, with most reporting for the year 2000. Similarly, 37–41 percent of countries reported on the value of fuelwood removals, also with most reporting for 2000. The countries reporting on either or both of these figures for 2005 account for almost 80 percent of the global forest area, although countries reporting for all three years account for only half of the area (Figure 7.2).
At the regional level, a higher proportion of countries in Asia, Europe and South America provided information. In Africa, only about one-third of the countries did so, but almost all of these provided information on the value of both fuelwood and industrial roundwood removals. In addition, most of the larger countries in Africa reported. Similarly, despite the relatively low number of responses from Oceania and North and Central America, most of the countries with significant forest areas in these two regions provided some information (e.g. Australia, Canada [1990 and 2000 only], Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the United States).
Another indicator of the availability of information is given in Table 7.1. This shows the proportion of total global and regional production covered by the countries providing value statistics for 2005 (FAO, 2005a). As this table shows, the countries providing information on the value of industrial roundwood removals accounted for almost 80 percent of global industrial roundwood production and 65 percent of fuelwood production.1
1 However, some countries reported the value of removals for only a portion of their total production. This was particularly a problem for fuelwood removals (e.g. in India and Indonesia). Thus the proportion of global production actually covered by the value statistics is somewhat less than implied.
Globally, the total reported value of wood removals in 2005 was US$64 billion, with some US$57 billion from industrial roundwood and a further US$7 billion from fuelwood
(Table 7.2). Although the volume of global fuelwood production is about the same as the production of industrial roundwood, these figures suggest that the value of fuelwood production per cubic metre is roughly one-tenth that of industrial roundwood production, which seems plausible.
At the regional level, North and Central America accounted for about one-third the total reported value of removals (and it should be noted that Canada is not included in this figure). Asia and Europe come next, each accounting for about one-quarter of the total, followed by Africa, Oceania and South America.
The reported value of industrial roundwood removals across the regions follows a similar pattern. For fuelwood, however, Asia and Africa accounted for more than half the total reported value of removals – owing to the great number of people that use fuelwood in these regions (combined with the high population level in Asia). It is also worth noting that the reported value of fuelwood removals in Africa amounted to about 40 percent of the reported value of all removals, whereas in other regions, the reported value of fuelwood removals amounted to about 20 percent or less of the total.
The availability of information about the value of wood removals is quite good, as the countries providing this information account for a significant proportion of total global production. However, it should be noted that some significant countries reported the value of only a part of their total production (e.g. the figures for fuelwood removals in India and Indonesia were very low).
For comparability, Table 7.3 includes only information from countries that reported value information for all three years. As a result, values for 2005 may be lower than those shown in Table 7.2 (which includes all reporting countries). In addition, Table 7.3 does not include values for some significant countries that did not report any figures or reported for only one or two years (e.g. Canada, which reported for 1990 and 2000 only)
Globally, the reported trend in the value of wood removals shows a slight increase, from US$53 billion in 1990 to US$55 billion in 2000 and US$59 billion in 2005. Most of this is due to a reported increase in the value of industrial roundwood removals, as the reported value of fuelwood removals has not changed significantly.
The above figures amount to an 11 percent increase over the last 15 years. However, these figures have not been adjusted for inflation. After adjusting, the reported value of wood removals has certainly fallen at the global level during this period.
At the regional level, the reported trend in the value of wood removals shows an increase in all regions except Asia and South America. In particular, the reported trend in Asia shows a significant decline, reflecting the declines reported in some major countries (e.g. Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia). In part, this can be attributed to lower levels of removals in these countries over the period.
In South America, the reported value of wood removals declined significantly from 1990 to 2000, but has since partly recovered – largely due to changes in Brazil, where the reported value of wood removals has followed a similar pattern. The level of industrial roundwood removals in that country has increased throughout the period, but the value has fallen and then risen again. This has been caused by a shift in the structure of production in Brazil over the last 15 years – from the production of industrial roundwood from natural forests (bringing a high price) to that from forest plantations (bringing a much lower price, but eventually greater production). A structural change such as this could also partly account for the trend in Asia.
The reported value of wood removals in Europe has increased slightly, showing a slight drop from 1990 to 2000 and then an increase. These changes probably reflect market liberalization in the formerly centrally planned economies of eastern Europe. A significant fall in production levels occurred in the early 1990s in Europe, followed by rapid growth in the latter part of the decade. The figures shown above do not capture all the profound changes that have occurred in Europe over the last 15 years (UNECE, 2005), but they do indicate that the value of removals is now higher than at the start of these changes.
In the other three regions (Africa, North and Central America and Oceania), the reported value of wood removals has roughly doubled. In Africa and Oceania this is due, to some extent, to increases in the level of removals. In addition, in all three regions, it seems likely that this has been supported by an increase in unit prices over the period. In contrast to the other regions, it is also likely that the reported value of removals has increased in real terms (i.e. after adjusting for inflation).
In terms of the substance of these figures, the most interesting feature is the trend in the reported value of wood removals shown in Brazil, as production shifted from natural forests to forest plantations. Given the current and projected trends in wood supply, it can be expected that more countries will display such a trend in the future.
This trend also highlights a final problem with these figures: they are an indication of the gross rather than the net value of output (or value-added). A decline in the value of removals (as shown in Brazil) may not necessarily indicate that the economic sustainability of forestry has declined. Rather, it could indicate that the sector has become more cost-efficient. In such cases, it is quite possible that gross value is declining while value-added (and hence economic viability) is increasing. In the future, it would be useful to include statistics for value-added for the whole sector, including processing, rather than only for the value of removals. These statistics would give a better indication of economic sustainability. They are found in national income accounts and can often be obtained relatively easily (Lebedys, 2004).