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Part I

Chapter III

1. PRESENT SITUATION (continued)

b) Fuelwood and charcoal

For rural people, as well as many urban poor in the region, wood is the dominant domestic fuel. The alternative fuels to firewood available to rural communities are primarily other local materials such as dung, crop residues, vegetable wastes, grass, etc.

Wood fuel in the form of firewood is usually the preferred fuel because it is locally available and often the only cost involved is the effort of gathering it. Charcoal is preferred in urban areas primarily because of efficiency in use (greater heat intensity, lack of smoke) and its transportability. Charcoal production in small-scale entreprises in the neighbourhood of forests is a relatively common practice in some parts of the region. Although produced by rural people, charcoal is essentially a commercialized urban fuel. Potentially available but not widely used are: biogas, kerosene, liquified petroleum gas and electricity.

In tropical Asia the energy needs to sustain daily household life and the small-scale industries at village level vary from a low of about 10 GJ/inhabitant/year 1 in the plains and hills of south and southeast Asia to a high of 22 GJ/inhabitant/year in the mountainous areas.

The energy needs, share of various fuels in total consumption and per capita consumption of wood fuels in the different parts of the region for rural areas (including towns of less than 100 000 people) can be summarized as follows (figures derived from the recent FAO regional study for tropical Asia of fuelwood supply and needs):

CategoryGeographical zones
(rural areas)
Energy needs
Share of various fuels in total domestic energy consumptionPer capita needs of wood fuels
Commercial energy
Crop residues and dung
Wood fuels
1Arid zones 13 – 5εε    1000.3 – 0.5
2Mountainous zones17 – 20    5 – 1010 – 2565–851.1 – 1.7
3Dry tropical zones6 – 1010 – 2020 – 6020–700.1 – 0.7
4Permanent agriculture zones in humid tropical areas8 – 1210 – 2020 – 4040–700.3 – 0.9
5Shifting cultivation zones in humid tropical areas (with relatively high population density)10 – 14    0 – 10  5 – 3555–950.5 – 0.9
6Shifting cultivation zones in humid tropical areas (with relatively low population density)0.9 – 1.3

1 including Afghanistan

The countries and parts of countries constituting the geographical zones indicated in the above table are as follows:

category 1:“arid zones”: western Pakistan (Baluchistan). Both population and wood resources are scarce;
category 2:“mountainous zones”: northwestern India, northern Nepal. Forest resources are scarce and/or inaccessible;
category 3:“dry tropical zones”: plains and valleys of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent: eastern and northeastern Pakistan, northwestern and northern India (Gujrat and Radjasthan states and Ganga plain) and southern Nepal. These are densely populated areas with relatively limited areas of closed forests;
category 4:“permanent agriculture zones in humid tropical areas”: Indian peninsula (except Orissa and Madhya Pradesh states), Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and densely populated areas of southeastern Asia (central Thailand, deltas and coastal plains of Viet Nam, central islands of the Philippines). Most forests of these zones have been cleared for permanent agriculture;
category 5:“shifting cultivation zones in humid tropical areas (with relatively high population density)”: Orissa and Madhya Pradesh states in India, lower Burma, northwestern Sumatra, southern Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara islands in Indonesia, inland Viet Nam and northern Philippines (Luzon). These are closed forest areas where relatively high population pressure is responsible for a rapid reduction of the forest cover;
category 6:“shifting cultivation zones in humid tropical areas (with relatively low population density)”: hill and mountain areas of continental south-east Asia (Bhutan, northeastern India, northern Burma, northern Thailand, Lao and Kampuchea) and forest areas with low density population of insular southeast Asia (Malay peninsula, southeastern Sumatra, Kalimantan, northern Sulawesi, Maluku, Irian Jaya in Indonesia, Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah and Papua New Guinea). Closed forest cover of these areas is still important thanks to a population pressure lower than in the former group.

Forests are not the only source of fuelwood; small woodlots and scattered trees in rural areas and plantations also meet people's energy needs. In India 35% of the people who collect firewood do so on their own land (after B.P. Srivastava in “Forestry for Rural Community Development: New Initiatives in India”). In Java (Indonesia), in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka home gardens supply a good share of family fuelwood needs. Thus it is only a combination of fuelwood supplies from diverse sources that provide an indication of the availability of fuelwood.

The following table extracted from the same study summarizes the current fuelwood situation and the likely one by the year 2000 for the rural areas of tropical Asia (plus Afghanistan) in the perspective of evolving population and fuelwood resources. This latter have been projected taking into account the forecasts of this study for 1985 and extrapolating them to the year 2000.

CategoryGeographical zones
(rural areas)
Per capita needs of wood fuels
Fuelwood availability
Estimated total balance
million m3
Fuelwood availability
m3/in hab/year
Estimated total balance
million m3
1Arid zones 10.3 – 0.50.02 – 0.03-    40.01 – 0.02-     6
2Mountainous zones1.1 – 1.70.22 – 0.26-  330.10 – 0.14-   59
3Dry tropical zones0.1 – 0.70.16 – 0.20-  630.14 – 0.18- 113
4Permanent agriculture zones in humid tropical areas0.3 – 0.90.24 – 0.28- 1400.19 – 0.23- 258
5Shifting cultivation zones with relatively high population pressure0.5 – 0.90.75 – 0.80+  110.45 – 0.50-   54
6Shifting cultivation zones with relatively low population pressure0.9 – 1.31.00 – 5.00+ 2450.70 – 4.00+ 273

1 including Afghanistan

A broad analysis of the situation by subregion in terms of dependence on fuelwood in relation to supply situation indicates that in south Asia the dependence on fuelwood over total energy consumption is more than two-thirds. The supply situation is generally acute in all countries except Bhutan. In continental southeast Asia (including centrally planned countries) there is a heavy reliance on fuelwood. The supply situation is considered satisfactory in Lao and Kampuchea and critical in Burma and Thailand. As for insular southeast Asia, about half the population depends on fuelwood in the Philippines and Indonesia; in some parts of these countries the situation is approaching critical levels. In Malaysia the dependence is the least among all countries of tropical Asia and the supply situation is considered satisfactory. Papua New Guinea is characterised by medium reliance and a satisfactory supply situation. Even in those countries where the general supply situation is considered satisfactory localized scarcity situations exist or are foreseen (e.g. highland provinces of Papua New Guinea).

The analysis provides an indication of the magnitude and acuteness of the fuelwood problem and highlights the trend of accelerated reduction of fuelwood availability due, in particular to the erosion of existing resources (deforestation and degradation) which is at the same time, partly, a consequence of this overall fuelwood deficit in the region. The main approaches that need to be pursued to reverse this situation include: intensified management of existing fuelwood resources; creation of additional resources; improving the distribution of fuelwood; efficient use of fuelwood and a more vigorous promotion of substitutes for fuelwood.

1 GJ = 1 gigajoule: it corresponds roughly to the combustion energy of 0.1 m3 (or 71,5 kg) of wood.

c) Other forest products

Traditionally rural people of the region have depended on forests to supply timber, poles and fuelwood. In addition forests have provided considerable opportunities for local employment and income based on a range of goods. Local craftsmen, small-scale artisans and cottage industries depend on forests for bamboo, rattan, beedi leaves, (Diospyros melanoxylon) tannin materials, etc. Rural people also draw upon the forest for food such as honey, a wide variety of tubers, fruits and leaves and bush meat.

The broadleaved forests of the region, in view of their heterogeneity and numerous multi-purpose species can be considered as a veritable land bank. Even the coniferous formations yield such products as resin which is processed into rosin and turpentine, usually at dispersed small-scale enterprises, thereby generating rural employment.

In south Asia the extraction and utilization of bamboo for pulp and paper industry is most common in India and Bangladesh. The use of bamboo for furniture and handicrafts is ubiquitous. In additional, golpatta (leaves of Nypa fruticans), wax, grass and cane are worth mentioning among other forest products in Bangladesh. In Bhutan, there is one resin and turpentine factory supplied by the pine forest and distillation of lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexnosus). In India from the point of view of commercial markets beedi leaves, gum karaya (Steroulia urens), resin, lemon grass, tannins (myrobalans from Terminalia spp. and Emblica officinalis) shellac (from the lac insect Laccifer lacca), katha and cutch (Acscia catechu) are important. The extraction of sal seeds and mahua seeds (Madhuca longifclia) is gaining ground in view of their utilization as soap stock, edible butter and other uses. In Nepal, resin and turpentine, medicinal plants, katha, betel leaf (Piper betle), myrobalans, honey, gums, skins and hides are the other forest produce commonly extracted. In Pakistan there is a growing resin industry, the end products being rosin and turpentine.

Many forest goods other than wood are produced in continental southeast Asia and in centrally planned countries. Canes and cutch are produced in Burma. In Thailand, yang oil, (Dipterocarpus spp.), gum damar, camphor (Cinnamomum camphora), honey, resin and canes and in Kampuchea, honey, wood oil, wood resin, cardomum fruits (Elettaria cardamomum), rattan, tannin barks, mushrooms, ornamental flowers (orchids) and a whole range of medicinal plants are produced from the forests. In Viet Nam, a papermill is based on the use of bamboo; tannin barks are extracted from the mangrove swamps, and wood oils are obtained from the dipterocarp forests. Shellac and fibres of various types are among the other forest products of Viet Nam.

In the Insular southeast Asian countries, rattan for furniture and basket making, bamboo for baskets and handicrafts, damar resins (Shorea spp.) and gums for the manufacture of varnishes are produced. In Peninsular Malaysia the fungus-infested heartwood of trees of the family Thymeleaceae is used as incense wood. The most important of other forest produce from Indonesia is rattan. In fact, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines together contribute substantially to the world production of rattan. In addition, these forests are known to produce resin, tannin barks, kayuputi oil (or cajuput oil from Melaleuca leucadendron), copal (Agathis spp.), illipe nuts (Shorea stenoptera and other Shorea) and nutmeg (Myristica fragrans).

In Papua New Guinea, damar, copal, rattan, mint, Calophyllum spp. nuts and cinnamon oil are produced from the forests.

In recent years, wildlife products have been attracting attention in the region. The crocodile skin industry in Thailand and Papua New Guinea and the raising of deer in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are examples. Commercial exploitation of butterflies is another interesting example from Papua New Guinea.

In summary, there is a growing awareness of the importance of other forest products from the rich and varied forests of the region not only to meet the needs of people but also to generate rural employment. Millions of rural women are employed in handicraft making and in processing of some products like beedi leaves. In order to maximise the beneficial impact on rural economies there is a clear need for better organization of collection, processing and marketing of other forest products in the region.

1.1.3 Present situation of the growing stock

Estimates of total growing stock serve the purpose of indicating the overall wood potential of the region. Tables 4a and 4b present the details of standing volumes (VOB) estimated at the end of 1980 for closed broadleaved and coniferous forests separately and table 4c sums up the results of these two tables. Estimates are given for the following formations:

These growing stock estimates were derived from country specific data based on inventories. The following points need to be kept in view while assessing the degree of authenticity and present day relevance that can be attached to these estimates. It is obvious that stocking in forests changes over time; in addition to degradation due to biotic interference even natural calamities may effect a change. For example in Burma some inventoried forests have been damaged by a cyclone in 1975. Thus the recentness or otherwise of inventories on which growing stock estimates are based is of significance. In many cases the estimates, which are purported to represent the 1980 situation have as their basis inventories sometimes 20 to 30 years old and had to be corrected accordingly. For example in Bangladesh inventories of the 50's with marginal inputs from a 1980 FAO assisted assessment are the basis. In Pakistan 1967 inventory data have been used. A Department of Forests/USAID forest survey of 1963–65 supplied the basic growing stock information for Nepal. A nationwide survey of 1959–60 is all that is available for Sri Lanka. In Thailand the national forest inventory results published in 1968 were used to weigh each vegetation type in the final VOB figures. Some of the sources are, however, more recent: the forest inventory carried out in 1969–72 is the basic source of growing stock information in Sabah; Sarawak results are based on an inventory of 1969–71; 1978 reports are the basis in Peninsular Malaysia; concession surveys carried out in the 70's together with some recent estimates at province level provided the basis for Indonesian estimates.

TABLE 4a - Growing stock (VOB) estimated at end 1980 1
Broadleaved forests
(totals in million m3)

CountryProductive closed forestsUnproductive closed forests

All closed forests

Productive open forests



 Bangladesh120  5.560  0.678 *62.468.534 *2.671.1  
 Bhutan249 *214  103 *47    261  120  21   282     
 India100 *489  28  115  67  1984  2588  40  309   2897     
 Nepal82 *60.741 *12.9  73.640  22.395.9  
 Pakistan160  28  65  2.9  30.955 *34.965.8357
 Sri Lanka200  2.660  73    75.620  8.784.3  
SOUTH ASIA800  -  251  -  2047  3098  -  398   3496   -7
 Burma180 *2536  133 *745  150  513  3794  90  727   4521     
 Thailand80  315      315  80  340   655   2890
-  2851  -  745  -  513  4109  -  1067   5176   -90
 Brunei301 *81  146 *2.5  83.5117 *4.287.7  
 Indonesia265 *10311  101 *3499    13810  176 *7026   20836     
 Malaysia291 *2194  178 *985  222 *556  3735  140 *764   4499     
  (Pen. Malaysia)(323) (576) (204) (727) (260)  (119) (1422)  (198)  (351)  (1773)    
  (Sabah)(313) (601) (156) (200)   (801)  (114)*(204)  (1005)    
  (Sarawak)(266) (1017) (85) (58) (214)*(437) (1512)  (112)*(209)  (1721)    
 Philippines305  915  165  610    1525  81 *211   1736     
INSULAR SOUTHEAST ASIA-  13501  -  5097  -  556  19154   8005   27159    0
 Kampuchea230  1060  200  102    1162  70  143   1305   6076
 Lao220  634      634  100  468   1102   60146
 Viet Nam220  330  170  369    699  120  447   1146   6587
-  2024  -  471   0  2495  -  1058   3553   -309
 Papua New Guinea130  1796  70  15   0  1811  130  2558   4369    0
TROPICAL ASIA-  20972  -  6579  -  3116  30667  -  13086   43753   -406

1 Weighted means are indicated with an asterisk

TABLE 4b - Growing stock (VOB) estimated at end 1980
Coniferous forests (NS)
(totals in million m3)

 Bhutan275  94110  19  113135    14  127
 India153  8461  7.5153379470.592111  581.5
 Nepal120  17.460  4.2    21.660    6.9    28.5
 Pakistan245  617012160  6613970  34  173
 Sri Lanka          
SOUTH ASIA-256-43-445744-166  910
 Burma155  13.6100    2.8    16.4      16.4
 Thailand  60  10      1060    2    12
-  24-  3    0  27-    2    29
 Indonesia  8012.8    12.860    9.6    22.4
  (Pen. Malaysia)          
 Philippines  9518    18      18
INSULAR SOUTHEAST ASIA     0 31    0  31   10    41
 Kampuchea150    0.680  0.3      0.930    0.3      1.2
 Lao100  10      1035    5    15
 Viet Nam  80    860  0.6      8.630    1.8    10.4
-  19-  1    0  20-    7    27
 Papua New Guinea140    4.985  1.30   0    6.2140    66    72.2
TROPICAL ASIA-304-79-445828-2511079

TABLE 4c - Total growing stock (VOB) estimated at end 1980
Closed forests (broadleaved and coniferous - N.f)
(in million m3)

 Bhutan308  66   374  35  409  
 India573  122.52363  3058.5420  3478.5
 Nepal78.117.1 95.229.2124.4
 Pakistan89  14.966  169.968.9238.8
 Sri Lanka2.673   75.68.784.3
SOUTH ASIA1056  294  2492  3842  564  4406  
 Burma2550  748  513  3811  727  4538  
 Thailand325    325  342  667  
2875  748  513  4136  1069  5205  
 Brunei81  2.5
 Indonesia10311  3511.8 13822.87035.620858.4
 Malaysia2194  985  556  3735  764  4499  
  (Pen. Malaysia)(576) (727) (119) (1422) (351) (1773) 
  (Sabah)(601) (200)  (801) (204) (1005) 
  (Sarawak)(1017) (58) (437) (1512) (209) (1721) 
 Philippines915  628   1543  211  1754  
INSULAR SOUTHEAST ASIA13501  5128  556  19185  8015  27200  
 Kampuchea1061  102   1163  143  1306  
 Lao644    644  473  1117  
 Viet Nam338  370   708  449  1157  
2043  472  0  2515  1065  3580  
 Papua New Guinea1801  16.30  1817.32624  4441.3
TROPICAL ASIA21276  6658  3561  31495  13337  44832   

Dating of the inventory data is only one problem, a more serious one is in several instances the absence of nationwide inventories and the recourse to agglomeration of data of several inventories within the same country. Within a country each separate inventory has its own focus. They differ in concepts, classifications, specifications and estimation methods. Accessibility, forest type, species composition, site factors, management objectives, exploitation stautus, etc., contribute to these differences. For example, in India forest areas under exploitation are covered by intensive inventories. Each inventory is made for a working circle of a forest division and its results apply only to a very small area. There are more than 2000 such inventories in the country. On top of it, the Preinvestiment Survey of Forest Resources of India carried out low sampling inventories since the mid 60's. An agglomeration of all these results necessarily has its own pitfalls.

Despite whatever has been said above, it is considered that the standing volume estimates presented in this study constitute the most consistent set of nationwide average figures to date; they have been derived adopting a process of checking and cross-checking of the different available estimates, making adjustments and calculating weighted means of growing stock per ha.

At the outset, the overall figures for the region and the subregions worth noting are:

Analysis by country reveals that six countries account for 88% of the standing volume of the closed forests of the region:

CountryStanding volume (VOB) million m3% of region
Indonesia20 858  46
Burma4 53810
Malaysia4 49910
Papua New Guinea4 44110
India3 478  8
Philippines1 754  4
Total39 568  88

Some aspects of growth and productivity of closed forests in these six countries is discussed below.

a) In Indonesia except for about 13 million m3 attribuable to the coniferous forests of Sumatra and Java all the standing volume is that of closed broadleaved forests: undisturbed productive closed broadleaved forests (NHCf1uv) account for 49% of this volume, logged-over productive closed broadleaved forests (NHCf1uc) for 17% and unproductive closed broadleaved forests (NHCf2) for 34%.

The undisturbed forests (NHCf1uv) predominate in Irian Jaya with a standing volume of 6 335 million m3, i.e. more than 60% of the volume attributable to this category. Next in importance are Kalimantan, Sumatra and Sulawesi. The standing volume in logged-over forests (NHCf1uc) is mainly in Kalimantan and Sumatra in that order; the volume in unproductive forests (NHCf2) is of equal order in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Irian Jaya (for more details see corresponding country brief in the second part of this report).

When compared with countries with similar standing volumes, the volume actually commercialized (VAC) left in undisturbed productive closed broadleaved forests is strikingly low: 27 m3/ha as against 90 in Sabah and Philippines, 75 in Sarawak, 45 in Peninsular Malaysia. However, this figure represents a weighted mean and is pulled down by the relatively low commercial value of the forests in Irian Jaya (68% of undisturbed forests), Nusatenggara, Maluku and Sulawesi. It is also an indication of the nature of highly selective logging in Kalimantan and Sumatra when compared with Philippines, Sabah and Sarawak.

b) Burma is distinguished from the other major countries (except India) in that more than a tenth of the standing volume is in productive managed forests (N.f1m). Undisturbed productive forests account for some 56%, logged-over (unmanaged) forests 16%, and unproductive forests another 16% of the standing volume. The volume per ha of undisturbed productive closed broadleaved forests (180 m3/ha) is more than double than in Thailand but lower by some 20% compared to Lao, Kampuchea and Viet Nam. The stocking in deciduous dipterocarp type is low and trees are not big although evergreen forests of the type found in Henzada/Bassein forest division has generally a high stocking. The stocking in dry upper mixed deciduous forests is only 83 m3/ha but their proportion in the total closed forests is not high. All these facts have been considered while deriving the estimate of 180 m3/ha.

The volume of merchantable logs extracted (VAC) per ha of undisturbed productive closed broadleaved forests of Burma is one of the lowest in the region: 15 m3/ha.

The managed forests are mainly of teak and some mixed dipterocarp forests. The annual allowable cut (AAC) calculated for 3.6 million ha of these forests, is 0.57 m3/ha compared to the average of 1 m3/ha for all Indian productive closed broadleaved forests intensively managed.

Burma has some 16 million m3 of gross volume in pine forests in southern Shan state and Chin hills forest divisions. Average VOB has been estimated at 155 m3/ha in the undisturbed coniferous forests. This compares with 153 m3/ha in India for similar forests.

c) The standing volume of Malaysian forests (all closed broadleaved forests) amounts to 10% of the total of the region: Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak account for about 40% each and Sabah for about 20%. Undisturbed productive forests (NHCf1uv) account for 49% of the stocking, logged-over productive forests (NHCf1uc) for 22%, managed productive forests (NHCf1m) for 12% and unproductive forests (NHCf2) for 17%.

Sarawak has the largest standing volume under virgin productive forests while Peninsular Malaysia leads in the volume under logged-over forests and unproductive forests.

The volume actually commercialized (VAC) is the highest in Sabah (90 m3/ha) compared with 75 m3/ha in Sarawak and 45 m3/ha in Peninsular Malaysia. Some 78% of the VAC in Sabah consists of dipterocarp species. The difference in VAC among the states in Malaysia are attributable to several factors ranging from floristic heterogeneity and commercial reasons to the methodology adopted in the computation of these figures (e.g. in Sabah the high figure of 90 m3/ha is based on the assumption that the volume extracted presently at the time of first logging is of the order of 70 m3/ha followed by volume yield of 20 m3/ha at the time of the second logging within the assumed cycle of 60 years). The managed forests in Malaysia are restricted to Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak with this latter accounting for some 79% of the volume in this category of forests. The annual allowable cut (AAC) in the managed forests is determined by the type of forest, system of management, cutting cycle, minimum cutting diameter, utilization pattern etc. It is 2.2 m3/ha in the mixed dipterocarp forests of Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak and 1.5 m3/ha in the peat swamp forests of Sarawak. To indicate the variability in AAC, these values can be compared with the mean AAC of 1.0 m3/ha in India and 0.57 m3/ha in Burma.

d) In Papua New Guinea unproductive broadleaved forests predominate contributing some 59% of the total standing volume (4 441 million m3) in all forests. The growing stock of coniferous is limited to some 72 million m3. The volume per ha (VOB) in the undisturbed productive closed broadleaved forests (NHCf1uv) is estimated at 130 m3/ha and the volume actually commercialised (VAC) is 30 m3/ha for selective logging which as a proportion of VOB is quite high when compared with Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia and Burma but lower than in Sabah and Sarawak. In fact the VAC for chipping, which is prevalent in parts, is even higher (65 m3/ha) but since chipping is not likely to be expanded a figure of 30 m3/ha has been used in this study.

e) In India out of a total standing volume of 3 478 million m3 in the closed forests the proportion in productive ones is 88%: 68% in the intensively managed ones and 20% in the unmanaged ones. Coniferous forests have a standing volume of 581 million m3 which is the highest in the region, only Pakistan and Bhutan having sizable volumes. There are wide variations in the stocking (VOB) per ha depending on the type of forest mainly. The range is from 26 m3/ha in the semi arid forests of Radjasthan to 203 m3/ha in some areas of temperate and sub-tropical forests. Weighted average volumes of 100 m3/ha for undisturbed closed forests, 28 m3/ha for unmanaged logged-over closed forests, and 67 m3/ha for managed closed forests have been adopted in the broadleaved category. Except for Nepal, in all other countries the corresponding figures are much higher. For coniferous forests 153 m3/ha has been used which is lower than in Bhutan (275 m3/ha) and Pakistan (245 m3/ha) but higher than in Nepal (120 m3/ha). The AAC in the managed forests of India has a mean value of 1 m3/ha.

f) In Philippines, but for 18 million m3 from coniferous forests, the rest of the standing volume is in its closed broadleaved forests. Out of 1 736 million m3 of this growing stock 88% are in the category of productive forests. Some 915 million m3 is the volume attributable to “virgin” broadleaved forests which represents only some 4% of the volume in this category in the region. The per ha volume in these forests (305 m3/ha) in Philippines is higher than in Indonesia and than the average value for Malaysia. The VAC is 90 m3/ha which corresponds to the value for Sabah.

In summary the data reveals that among 16 countries of tropical Asia there is not only an estimated standing volume of 20 972 million m3 of hardwood volume in the undisturbed productive closed forests, but also another 6 579 million m3 in the logged-over forests. Broadleaved forests considered unproductive for one season or the other have a standing volume of 13 086 million m3. In 8 countries (Sri Lanka, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Lao, Kampuchea and Viet Nam) the average volume per ha of undisturbed broadleaved forests is over 200 m3/ha.

The VAC (volume actually commercialized) which is an index of production of undisturbed forests form the point of view of commercial exploitation ranges from 15 m3/ha in Burma to 90 m3/ha in Sabah. The data on VAC are highly divergent. In Sabah, Sanawak, Philippines and Papua New Guinea between 20 and 30% of the standing volume (VOB) of undisturbed forests are “commercial” (according to present standards), whereas in Indonesia and Peninsular Malaysia this proportion is between 10 and 15% and in Burma less than 10%. The following figures exemplify the situation.

Gross volume (VOB) and volume actually commercialized (VAC) in undisturbed productive closed broadleaved forests in some countries of tropical Asia

(m3ha)(m3ha)(as % of VOB)
Burma18015  8
Indonesia (whole country)2652710
 Sumatra, Kalimantan3234514
 Sulawesi, Maluku, Nusa Tenggara27525  9
 Irian Jaya24220  8
Malaysia (whole country)2916924
 Peninsular Malaysia3234514
Papua New Guinea1303023

1.2 Plantations

1.2.1 Introduction

The history of plantations in tropical Asia dates back to well over 140 years and the earliest efforts were in south Asia. In India the first teak plantations were raised in 1840 at Nilambur. In Burma, planting of teak under taungya system was introduced in 1856, and in 1868 an area of 306 ha had been planted. The earliest plantation in Bangladesh, which was also of teak, was raised in 1871. Plantations were established for the first time in Pakistan in 1866 for the production of fuelwood for railway traction. In the southeast Asian countries, Indonesia made the earliest efforts at raising plantations in 1873 in Java. The first plantations in Viet Nam were established in 1908 and in the Philippines in 1970.

Up to the middle of the twentieth century plantation activity in the region continued to be sporadic. Some noteworthy features during this period were: the introduction of exotic species of which the earliest example was the establishment of plantations of Eucalyptus globulus and wattles (Acacia spp.) in the Nilgiri hills (south India); the spread of taungya system in Burma and India; attempts at plantations of sal and Gmelina arborea in Bangladesh and India; irrigated plantations of Dalbergia sissoo and other species in Pakistan; and the starting of tumpangsari system (taungya with fertilizers) in the teak plantations of Java in Indonesia.

In the early years plantations were mostly of small scale and in many instances research oriented. Conscious national policies were lacking and resource allocation at the country level specifically for raising plantations was wanting. Most plantations were the result of initiative of individual professionals.

The second half of the twentieth century saw radical changes in the political systems of the region. Several countries gained independence and the era of planned development started and with it concerted efforts at afforestation and reforestation for protective and productive purposes. The period 1950–70 saw a gradual build up of plantation activity in most countries of the region. One main justification was the very rapid rises in wood consumption and the anticipation that these will outstrip the capacity of natural forests in the near future. Although very large areas of natural forests were still available they were by no means well distributed in relation to the main centres of wood demand. Large areas of tropical forests are less valuable as a potential source of industrial wood because they contain so few species that are usable for these purposes. Deficiencies of quality, quantity or accessibility constrained the utilization of existing natural resources, especially in south Asia. Man-made forests, on the other hand, were seen as particularly suitable for production of industrial wood. They offered the prospect of supplies of appropriate raw wood, of more or less uniform quality or processing characteristics, of being created in large quantity close to the main processing or consuming centres together with the prospects of very rapid production. Two factors which largely governed plantation policies during 1950–70 were: (a) the future pattern and scale of wood consumption, and (b) the extent to which these future needs may be supplied from the natural forests. During this period, governments played a preponderant part in raising plantations mainly through forest departments.

During the seventies, in addition to the above concerns, institutional matters and aspects of people's participation in plantation activity attracted considerable attention. Corporate bodies for the specific purpose of establishing large scale plantations were created in some countries (e.g India and Indonesia). In the Philippines, which entered a new phase of expansion of plantations in the early 1970s, community tree farming projects with international aid were initiated. Albizia falcataria, Gmelina arborea, Eucalyptus deglupta for wood-based industries and Leucaena leucocephala for firewood, charcoal and leaf-meal production were planted extensively utilizing institutional finance, and in collaboration with private industry and small farmers. Social forestry or plantations to meet the needs of rural population and alleviate rural poverty gained ground (e.g. India, Nepal, Thailand and Indonesia).

The technological improvements that have taken place in the field of wood processing (e.g. widening the range of species suitable for pulping, peeling and reconstitution) exerted considerable influence on the choice of species, techniques, rotations, etc. The pulp mills, the new board mills and the demand for fuelwood have begun to provide such a market that even private individuals are finding it attractive to divert farm lands into plantation forestry (e.g. in the Indian state of Gujrat).

By 1980 plantation forestry appears to have reached the threshold of a take-off stage. Significant achievements in forest genetics, new systems of raising plantations, new modes of seeking people's participation, fresh approaches to financing, and emerging institutional mechanisms are in evidence. The outcome of this “great movement”, however, is not yet certain.

1.2.2 Areas of established plantations

The areas of established plantations in tropical Asia are incorporated in tables 5a, 5b and 5c. These estimates refer - as for the two other tropical regions - to plantations considered successful or “reasonably” stocked and may differ from total areas of plantations reported by governments in national progress reports to the sessions of the Asia Pacific Forestry Commission or by other sources. The way these area estimates are arrived at from the data available for each country is explained in the corresponding brief in the second part of this report. The cumulative area under plantations at the end of 1980 was 5 111 000 ha. Two subregions, south Asia and insular southeast Asia, account for 93% of the total area under plantations. Two countries alone, India and Indonesia possess some 4 million ha out of the region total of 5.1 million ha. Six other countries account for nearly 1 million ha as follows: Philippines (300 000 ha), Viet Nam (204 000 ha), Pakistan (160 000 ha), Bangladesh (128 000 ha), Thailand (114 000 ha) and Sri Lanka (112 000 ha). The extent of plantations undertaken in Bhutan, Nepal, Burma, Malaysia, Kampuchea, Lao and Papua New Guinea is still marginal.

Some 2 million ha (i.e. 39%) out of the cumulative total of 5.1 million ha have been raised during the period 1976–80 indicating a vigorous drive in recent years motivated by the grim coalescence of two factors: shrinking area under natural forests and escalating demand for forest products. A noteworthy feature during this period is the realization by wood-rich countries like Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia about the need for increased effort into establishing man-made forests.

A major effort into raising industrial plantations (table 5a) was observed in south Asia and insular southeast Asia. Together these two subregions accounted for 3.3 million ha out of 3.5 million ha of industrial plantations in the region. Among south Asian countries, apart from India, only Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have raised industrial plantations of any significant extent. India concentrated more on fast-growing hardwood species (PHH 1) whereas in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka the proportion of hardwood species other than fastgrowing ones (PHL 1) is higher. The pattern in insular southeast Asia is the following: a total absence of hardwood species other than fast-growing ones (PHL 1) for industrial plantations in the Philippines, as opposed to some 69% of industrial plantations falling into this category in Indonesia. This type of species has also dominated the scene in Thailand while in Viet Nam they claim equal importance compared with fast-growing species.

By far the most important industrial plantation species (other than fast-growing) in the region is teak (Tectona grandis).

Plantations of fast-growing (or high yielding) hardwood species for industrial purposes (PHH 1), mainly for pulp and paper, received considerable attention in India which accounts for 86% of the region's total by 1980 in this category, whereas the Philippines and Sri Lanka together possess some 100 000 ha. Various species and hybrid varieties of Eucalyptus are the most common fast-growing hardwood species tried in the region. It should be noted here that the fast-growing hardwood species for industrial plantations are also useful as fuelwood. These same species, with some exceptions, are also planted to a significant extent in non-industrial plantations (PHH 2).

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