This paper presents information about the contribution of the forestry sector to national economies at the global, regional and country levels. The paper presents figures for total employment, value-added and export earnings in the sector from 1990 to 2000, as well as information about trends in productivity. The figures include a mixture of statistics taken from published sources and FAO estimates. Unfortunately, statistics are not available for many countries or for activities in the informal sector, so these figures must be treated with some caution. However, the figures probably give a reasonable indication of the importance of the sector at the global and regional level and highlight broad changes over time. They also show some of the main differences in the structure of the sector between different countries and regions.
The figures presented here were collected from the databases and libraries located at FAO Headquarters in Rome. A number of FAO staff and experts in countries and other international organizations helped by supplying and checking some of the statistics (Mike MacNamara and Ulla Karjalainen, Australia; Susan Phelps, Canada; Taghi Shamekhi, Iran; Maharaj Muthoo, Italy; Judith Dennis, New Zealand; Linda Langner and Ken Skog, United States of America; Qiang Ma, FAO; Makiko Uemoto, FAO; Alex McCusker, UN Economic Commission for Europe; and Peter Poschen, ILO). The author expresses his appreciation to Mr Adrian Whiteman for the technical supervision of this work, to the staff of the FAO Economics and Statistics Library for their assistance with data collection and to all of the others that supplied information.