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SOFO is the product of concerted effort and teamwork on the part of many individuals both inside and outside FAO. Overall coordination of the publication was carried out by S.M. Braatz. J. Bourke provided valuable editing assistance and advice. The following members of FAO staff and consultants were involved in collecting data, drafting sections, or reviewing the document: J. Anderson, J. Ball, S. Borelli, J. Bourke, S.M. Braatz, F. Castaneda, M.F. Chipeta.J. Clement, R. Davis, M.H. El-Lakany, M.R. de Montalembert, D.A. Harcharik, R. Heinrich, K. Janz, J.P. Lanly, L. Lintu, M. Lorenzini, M. Malagnoux, A. Marzoli, D. McGuire, M. Morell, K. Padovani, C. Palmberg-Lerche, M. Paolozzi, M. Paveri, R. Romeo, K.H. Schmincke, E.H. Sène, O. Serrano, D. Shallon, K.D. Singh, P. So, M. Trossero, P. Vantomme, K. Warner. The following colleagues in the FAO regional offices contributed the regional highlights and various other sections: A. Al-fares, P. Durst, T. Frisk, J.D. Keita, P. Kone and E. Pepke, S. Dembner advised on production aspects, and M. Montavon provided administrative support. Colleagues in the Timber Section, Trade Division of the UN Economic Commission for Europe Secretariat provided data on 1995 forest cover for developed countries, drafted the European highlights, and provided valuable feedback on various sections of the text; for this, our thanks go to C. Prins and A. Korotkov. D. Brooks and R. McConnell provided the North American regional highlights. C. Behr compiled the table on basic country data and the forestry in economic/political regional groups' section. S.A. Oikos and B. Braatz contributed to the forest resources and global climate change sections, respectively. FAO also wishes to acknowledge its appreciation for the valuable guidance given by the members of SOFO's External Review Committee, namely: D. Barron. S. Bass, M. Dourojeanni, M. (Goumandakoye, H. Gregersen, M. Hadley, J.P. Lanly, J. Maini, O. M'Hirit, C. Prins, M.N. Salleh, and M. Simula. Finally in many thanks are due to those who worked long and late to provide essential production support: E Rubini, L. Swain, M. Rosal, S. Tafuro, and L. Luna for secretarial assistance, and to Nigel Jones and Georgina Lucas at Words and Publications (UK) for preparation of the final manuscript for printing.

The forestry sector today is attracting an unprecedented amount of international attention. It is also undergoing dynamic evolution in response to economic, political and social developments, changing perceptions of the role of forests and the concerns of a wide range of interest groups. Accurate, current and easily accessible information on the world's forests and on developments in the forestry sector is more important than ever for the formulation of sound policies and informed public opinion. The Stare of the World's Forests (SOFO), which is published every two years, aims to provide such information. SOFO 1997 is divided into four main sections: a section on situation and prospects for forest conservation and development, which supplies information on forest cover, forest management and forest products; a section on policy, planning and institutional arrangements; a special issue section which presents information on efforts to develop criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management; and six regional reviews which together cover all the countries of the world.

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