Forest resources assessment WP 28

Global forest survey concept paper

Rome, July 2000

The Forest Resources Assessment Programme

Forests are crucial for the well-being of humanity. They provide foundations for life on earth through ecological functions, by regulating the climate and water resources, and by serving as habitats for plants and animals. Forests also furnish a wide range of essential goods such as wood, food, fodder and medicines, in addition to opportunities for recreation, spiritual renewal and other services.

Today, forests are under pressure from expanding human populations, which frequently leads to the conversion or degradation of forests into unsustainable forms of land use. When forests are lost or severely degraded, their capacity to function as regulators of the environment is also lost, increasing flood and erosion hazards, reducing soil fertility, and contributing to the loss of plant and animal life. As a result, the sustainable provision of goods and services from forests is jeopardized.

FAO, at the request of the member nations and the world community, regularly monitors the world’s forests through the Forest Resources Assessment Programme. The next report, the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000 (FRA 2000), will review the forest situation by the end of the millennium. FRA 2000 will include country-level information based on existing forest inventory data, regional investigations of land-cover change processes, and a number of global studies focusing on the interaction between people and forests. The FRA 2000 report will be made public and distributed on the world wide web in the year 2000.

The Forest Resources Assessment Programme is organized under the Forest Resources Division (FOR) at FAO headquarters in Rome. Contact persons are:

Robert Davis FRA Programme Coordinator [email protected]

Peter Holmgren FRA Project Director [email protected]

or use the e-mail address: [email protected]


The Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) Working Paper Series is designed to reflect the activities and progress of the FRA Programme of FAO. Working Papers are not authoritative information sources – they do not reflect the official position of FAO and should not be used for official purposes. Please refer to the FAO forestry website ( ) for access to official information.

The FRA Working Paper Series provides an important forum for the rapid release of preliminary FRA 2000 findings needed for validation and to facilitate the final development of an official quality-controlled FRA 2000 information set. Should users find any errors in the documents or have comments for improving their quality they should contact either Robert Davis or Peter Holmgren at [email protected].

Paper drafted by: Peter Holmgren


COFO Committee on Forestry
FAOFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
FRAthe Forest Resources Assessment Programme (at FAO)
FRA 2000 the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000
GFSGlobal Forest Survey
GPSGlobal Positioning System
IPFInter-Governmental Panel of Forestry
SOFOState of the World's Forests


Executive Summary

1 Introduction

2 Background
2.1 National information requirements
2.2 International information requirements
2.3 National forest inventories - status 2000

2.4 FAO's global forest resources assessments2.5 Other international forestry information initiatives
2.6 Forestry knowledge management
2.7 Information technology status for forest inventory
2.8 The Global Forest Survey initiative

3 Development objectives
3.1 National capacity building for sustainable forest management
3.2 Forestry knowledge management for international processes

4 Justification
4.1 FAO's role and mandate
4.2 Information requirements
4.3 Capacity building requirements
4.4 Methodology aspects

5 Methodology framework
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Primary sample grid
5.3 Stratification and field sampling
5.4 Field work component
5.5 Information management
5.6 Capacity building through implementation
5.7 Timeframe for execution

6 Outputs

7 Organization

8 Budget and Funding


FRA Working Papers

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