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Making appropriate and timely decisions is important in managing forest resources and in achieving sustainable management of forests and tree resources, a declared goal of virtually all national forest policies in the Asia-Pacific region. The growing demand for a range of goods and services by different stakeholders has increased the complexity of sustainable forest management and the volume, value and direction of trade of forest products are undergoing significant shifts. Resolving conflicts between different demands now and in the future requires substantial improvement in the present systems for collecting and analyzing data and disseminating information.

Forestry statistics in Asia are inadequate. As a result, many decisions are based on inaccurate, incomplete or outdated information. Although many efforts have been made, and continue to be made, at national and international levels to improve this situation, capacities for providing relevant and up-to-date information remain weak in most countries. Strengthening statistics on forest products is crucial for improving forest policy formulation and planning at the national and sub-national levels.

This report reviews the current status of data collection, data processing and dissemination of information in the context of implementing sustainable forest management in the Asia-Pacific region. It provides insights into forest products statistics in 12 countries of Tropical Asia. The document consists of two main parts: (1) a regional synthesis on forest products statistics; and (2) country profiles that describe the current situation at national levels.

The country profiles review the existing data related to forest products and trade (roundwood, wood charcoal, wood chips, particles and residues, sawnwood, wood-based panels, pulp and recovered paper, paper and paperboard); identify main weaknesses and constraints in current statistical systems; and propose practical measures for improving data collection, data processing and regular dissemination of information on forest products.

This report includes contributions provided by: D.B. Dhital (Bhutan); Det Seila (Cambodia); Pratap Singh (India); Magdalena Gultom, Ahmad Pribadi, Nurcahyo Adi and Rubiandono (Indonesia); Somchay Sanonty (Lao PDR); Dan Yit May (Malaysia); Swoyambhu Man Amatya (Nepal); Tarik Nazir Chaudhry (Pakistan); Dolores R. Catindig (the Philippines); A.N.S. Baminiwatta (Sri Lanka); Suchart Thaipetch (Thailand); and Phan Trung Dien (Viet Nam). The inputs of the authors and their unnamed assistants are acknowledged.

Various colleagues at FAO headquarters in Rome and at the FAO Regional Office in Bangkok have been involved in the preparation of the country profiles and the regional overview. C.T.S. Nair, F. Padovani and T. Enters provided overall guidance and coordination for the study, and contributed to the collection, analysis and finalization of the information presented in this volume. Their assistance is appreciated. Furthermore, we would like to thank the European Commission for the financial support given for this work through the Tropical Forestry Budget Line B7-6201/97.

It is hoped that readers will find this publication useful and that it will contribute not only to improving forest products statistics in Asia but even more so to better decision-making.


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