5.3 Forest production in the economy

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A major function of the forest is to supply wood and other conventional products. Forests and the forest industry contribute to the economy through the production of and trade in wood for energy, sawnwood, panels and paper. In 1990, the value of forest products was estimated to be somewhat over US$400 billion, of which about one-quarter was in the form of fuelwood and the balance as the value of forest products in industrial use. Products of the forest other than wood, such as cork, resin, mushrooms, wild fruits and gum can be important, in particular in the subsistence sector, but no estimate of their value is available. The value of exports of forest products was $97 billion in 1990, just over 3 percent of world merchandise trade.

Wood in energy supply

Table 5.4 shows the data and projections for the uses of wood and its products. The quantity of wood used directly as fuelwood and in the generation of energy is about 1.8 billion m3, just over half of all the wood consumed. In addition, some 300 million m3 of residues from the manufacture of wood products are recovered for energy production, making a total equivalent to 0.52 billion tonnes of oil. This is approximately 5 percent of world energy consumption. The bulk of world fuelwood consumption is in the developing countries, where it represents 80 percent of their annual wood production. This volume, equivalent to 0.4 billion tonnes of oil, constitutes 15 percent of developing country energy consumption. However, in 40 of the world's poorest countries, wood is the source of more than 70 percent of national energy consumption. In these countries consumption of energy from wood ranges from 0.1 to 0.5 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) per caput, averaging 0.25 toe. It is noteworthy that the average use of wood in energy supply in developed countries is 0.2 toe per caput, where wood in all forms contributes only I percent of all energy consumed (FAO, 1994b).

Wood remains the main fuel for rural communities in many developing countries and for urban communities too, where the people do not have access to, or cannot afford, alternative fuels. In remote rural areas, especially in poorer countries, modern fuels are virtually unobtainable in any substantial quantities. Among communities dependent on traditional fuels, wood is the preferred fuel, but in regions where wood supply is scarce, twigs and leaves may be used as fuel and in some countries other biomass such as crop wastes and cowdung are used as fuel. This is particularly the case in the Indian subcontinent, where 50 percent of biomass energy is from crop wastes and dung, and in certain areas of Africa.

The predominant use of fuelwood is for household requirements, namely cooking and space heating. The efficiency of use of fuelwood in traditional fireplaces is low, with a useful energy recovery of only 10 percent. Programmes to introduce improved stoves using low cost local materials, are being carried out in many developing countries in order to reduce fuel used for cooking and heating and at the same time to reduce smoke in the kitchen and to improve kitchen hygiene. This is especially important for women and children who are often responsibile for cooking and fuelwood supply. Toxic fumes from traditional burning of wood can cause respiratory diseases.

The consumption of fuelwood by commercial and industrial enterprises is substantial in many developing countries in particular by rural industries such as fish, tea, coffee and tobacco drying and curing, commercial food preparation, baking and brewing, textiles, laundries, metal workshops and industries such as cement, ceramics and brickmaking. Brazil, for example, uses 6 million tonnes of charcoal per year for iron and steel production.

The supply of fuelwood from the forest tends to diminish with the clearance of forest in the areas of settlement. There is substitution of supply from trees planted around the farm, on roadsides, boundaries and on wasteland and from tree crops. The overall effect is a diminution in available supply and increase in cost because of increased competition for the available supply or because of the increased distance to the point of collection. In the neighbourhood of urban areas, in arid zones and areas of dense but poor rural populations without access to alternative energy, remaining forests are destroyed by overuse. Thus, the diminishing fuelwood supply potential of trees and forests in densely populated low-income regions will tend to become an increasingly important constraint to meeting the energy needs of the population.

Projected consumption of wood in energy

World consumption of energy from all sources may continue to expand at between I and 2 percent per year but the growth rate of energy consumption in the developing countries will be substantially higher. Given the above mentioned supply constraints, the use of wood in energy supply in the developing countries would grow at a rate appreciably lower than the rate of growth of the economy and total consumption of energy, and probably lower than the growth of population. The trend for countries to substitute increasingly fossil and other fuels for wood would continue. Wood and biomass however will remain the main source of fuel for remote and poor rural populations. In developed countries the earlier trend towards decline in the use of fuelwood had been reversed into modest growth since the 1970s. This trend is likely to continue. Growing interest in some developing countries in the rehabilitation of degraded land through energy plantations and in developed countries in using set-aside land for energy trees and crops, could increase further the contribution of wood as a modern energy carrier. It is expected that the recycling of residues in energy production and particularly the use of waste paper no longer suitable for reuse in paper manufacturing, will increase. Based on the above considerations, world consumption of wood in energy use is projected to grow at 1.4 percent p.a. to some 2.4 billion m3 in 2010 (Table 5.4).

Forest products in industrial use

Wood is used as raw material in the manufacture of sawnwood, wood-based panels are used mainly in construction, housing and furniture, and paper is used mainly in communications and packaging. It is also used in unprocessed form in the construction of housing, in agricultural fencing, posts and stakes, as the raw material for artisanal products, as transmission poles and for piling. The predominant use in the rural areas of the developing countries is in the form of unprocessed roundwood. The forest industry has grown substantially in the last 30 years: its output doubled in the developed countries, but increased five-fold in the developing ones. In the developed countries, the growth of the forest industry was slower than the growth of the overall economy, while in the developing countries the growth of the industry exceeded that of the overall economy.

Industrial roundwood

World consumption of industrial roundwood is over 1.6 billion m3, with the bulk of it, some three-quarters, concentrated in the developed countries. Of this total, nearly 1 billion m3 are utilized in the production of sawnwood and plywood, 0.4 billion m3 are used directly to manufacture pulp for paper and 0.2 billion m3 are utilized in unprocessed form. In addition, some 0.2 billion m3 of residues from sawmilling are recycled to pulp manufacture.

Sawnwood, wood-based panels and paper

World consumption of sawnwood is close to 500 million m3, of which some three-quarters is in the developed countries. The average consumption in the developed and the developing countries is respectively 300 m3 and 30 m3 per 1000 persons. Consumption of wood-based panels totals 125 million m3 of which only 17 million m3 are consumed in the developing countries (Table 5.4).

The world consumption of paper and paperboard of 238 million tonnes is made up of 100 million tonnes of newsprint and printing and writing papers used mainly in communications, about 12 million tonnes of household and sanitary papers, and the remaining 126 million tonnes are used in packaging, transport and other industrial applications. Per caput consumption of paper averages 45 kg worldwide, but with wide disparities between the developed countries (150 kg) and the developing ones (10 kg). The manufacture of paper utilizes three main sources of fibre: 61 percent wood pulp, 5 percent pulp of other fibres and 34 percent is recovered paper. In the developing countries, the respective proportions are 29, 27 and 44 percent. In recent years policy measures have been adopted in the developed countries to encourage recycling of used paper with the aim of reducing the volume disposed of as waste.

As noted earlier, the consumption of industrial wood products has grown substantially over the past three decades, most rapidly in the 1960s and early 1970s, more slowly in the 1980s. The rates of growth have been generally much higher in the developing countries than in the developed ones. The world growth rate of sawnwood consumption fell from 2 percent to 1 percent p.a. Over the period while that in the developing countries was maintained at 5 percent p.a.; for panels, the world growth rate fell from 10 percent to 2 percent but growth in the developing countries remained at 10 percent and world growth of paper fell from 5 percent to 3 percent, while growth in the developing countries fell from 6 percent to 4 percent p.a.

Projected consumption of industrial forest products

The consumption projections are based on the estimated relationships between the rates of economic growth and of population growth and those of consumption of forest products. The projected growth of consumption of industrial forest products is shown in Table 5.4. In the developing countries the consumption growth is projected to be approximately equal to projected economic growth for these countries (about 5 percent per annum). This implies a nearly tripling of consumption in developing countries over the next two decades. To cope with this projected growth in consumption, an equivalent expansion in the production of industrial wood is needed. In the developed countries, the growth in consumption of forest products is projected to be lower than the growth of their economies, with consumption somewhat less than doubling over the next 20 years.

At the global level, the consumption of industrial round wood is projected to be about 2.5 percent p.a., leading to a consumption of 2.7 billion m3 by 2010. This growth rate is somewhat below that of the consumption of the industry's products. This would result from a continuing trend towards a more efficient use of wood raw material through more complete utilization of smaller size wood, recovery of residues as input to panels and paper and the increased recovery and recycling of used paper in paper manufacture. These trends are well established in the developed countries and are an area of considerable potential growth in the developing countries.

The supply of industrial wood in the developing countries depends at present mainly on supplies from natural forests. This is also the main source of supply of tropical timber entering international trade. In certain countries the current rate of harvesting is not sustainable over the long term. In some regions of high population density, forests have been cleared for agriculture following initial harvesting and thereby the potential for sustainable timber production has declined. The extension of management to secure continuing sustainable supply is an essential component of policy responses to this problem.

Trees planted individually or in plantations may be expected to play an increasing role in meeting developing country requirements for industrial wood. The plantation area so far established in the tropics has a yield potential nearly equal to current consumption of industrial wood in the developing countries. They are however not all oriented toward industrial use. An additional area of 50 to 100 million ha in appropriate locations would be needed to meet projected developing country requirements for industrial wood by the year 2010.

Developed countries' demand for industrial wood is projected to increase by nearly 50 percent over the period to the year 2010. It is well within the potential of existing forest areas to meet this demand, with sustainable management, stock improvements and improved efficiency in harvesting. The area is likely to be further increased by afforestation of land set aside from agriculture. High costs of operations, however, may lead to a continuation of the trend to reduce intensity of silviculture and to accumulate stock, particularly in less accessible areas.

Forest products other than wood

In addition to timber and fuelwood, forests also generate a wide variety of other products which make an important contribution to both the national and local economy and are significant sources of materials and food for local communities. Well-known industrial materials and commercial commodities, which also enter international trade, include cork, gum arabic and rattan, together with a wide range of gums and resins, bamboos, various oils, resin and turpentine, tanning materials, honey, seeds and spices, edible fungi, wildlife and wildlife products, barks and tree leaves and medicinal plants. The non wood forest materials are essential inputs in artisanal activity, house construction and furniture manufacturing. They are often the basis of economic activities at the household level, mainly carried out by women. The products are traded in both rural and urban markets providing an additional source of cash income. They also provide an opportunity for productive employment in periods of reduced agricultural workloads.

Rural communities benefit directly from these products, as they provide food, fuel, medicinal herbs and extractives, building materials, materials for handicrafts, animal fodder, perfumes and dyes. The wildlife of the forest often provides the main source of animal protein for rural communities. Foods available from the forest enrich diets by providing vitamins and protein-rich components. They contribute to food security by their availability when agricultural crops are out of season or deficient due to drought.

In many countries the collection of non-wood forest products is the subject of established common rights of local people. In other cases, the collection is regulated through a system of licensing. Change of use of the forest can result in conflict with these customary activities. Clearing, felling or restriction of access may result in severe hardship to communities which depend on non wood products for their livelihood. Governments therefore should take special action in such cases to protect the interests of local communities, for example, by entering into long-term usufruct agreements with people who agree to live in harmony with the forest, taking from it only what is necessary for their livelihoods, and ensuring the rejuvenation of valuable species.

The role of traditional forest products as materials and food for rural communities will continue to be important, and could even increase when these communities gain access to markets. The continuing discovery of new products and new uses for the myriad plant and animal materials in forests, will further enhance this role. These products are of particular socioeconomic importance in providing a basis for small-scale industry, generating employment opportunities for women and men, particularly in remote rural areas.

Table 5.5 Trade in forest products, 1961 and 1990 (1990 dollars)

  1961 1990
  Total $ billion Roundwood % Pulp and paper % Total $ billion Roundwood % Pulp and paper %
World 30 13 31 109 12 60
Developed 27 15 31 90 11 61
Developing 3 5 56 19 15 56
World 26 12 35 97 9 62
Developed 24 7 38 84 7 67
Developing 2 60 4 13 20 28

Forest products in trade

The value of world exports of forest products in 1990 was US$97 billion, accounting for 3.3 percent of world merchandise trade and 23 percent of world exports of agricultural, fisheries and forestry products (Table 5.5). Imports and exports of the developed countries accounted for about 85 percent of this trade, with Europe alone accounting for about half of all trade. The largest importers are the USA, Japan, Germany and the UK, all with imports exceeding US$10 billion per year. The largest exporters are Canada, the USA, Finland and Sweden, all with exports exceeding US$9 billion per year. Among the developed countries, 13 are important net exporters and 16 significant net importers. Trade in forest products is particularly important to the economies of some developed countries. For three countries, forest products exceed 10 percent of their total exports and for a further five countries they exceed 5 percent of total exports.

Developing countries account for about 15 percent of world trade in forest products. The largest importers among developing countries are China, Korea Republic and Egypt, each with forest products imports exceeding US$2 billion per year. The largest exporters are Indonesia and Malaysia with exports exceeding US$3 billion, Brazil with exports of US$1.75 billion and Chile with US$0.8 billion. Regionally, China and neighbouring countries of East Asia and the countries of the Near East and North Africa are substantial net importers accounting together for half of all developing country imports of forest products. Other developing regions are in near balance or are net exporters. About 50 developing countries depend on net imports for their forest products consumption. This number does not include some very small countries which are totally dependent on imports for their consumption. In 11 developing countries, forest product exports exceed 10 percent of their total exports and in another 7 countries they exceed 5 percent of total exports.

In the period since 1961, the world trade in forest products has increased more than three-fold in real terms. Developing country exports have increased six times, bringing their share in world total from 8 percent to 13 percent. Over this period, the structure of the forest products trade has changed. In 1961, unprocessed roundwood accounted for 60 percent of developing country exports. By 1990, the real value of these exports had more than doubled but constituted only 20 percent of the total. In 1961, developed and developing country exports of unprocessed roundwood were about equal. In 1990, with the inclusion of chips and particles, the export of unprocessed industrial roundwood of developed countries was more than double the developing country export. In 1990, the trade in pulp and paper dominated the forest products trade and accounted for more than 60 percent, up from the 30 percent of the early 1960s. Developed country exports of pulp and paper have increased from 4 percent of total exports of forest products in 1961 to 28 percent of the much larger exports in 1990.

Although subject to considerable annual fluctuations, the real price of forest products has tended to be roughly constant over the last three decades. Products departing from this broad tendency have been tropical logs and sawnwood, the prices of which have shown a slight upward tendency of about 0.5 percent per year, and wood-based panels and paper which had a declining tendency in prices exceeding I percent per year over the period 1961-80, but have experienced constant real prices over the last decade.

Outlook for trade in forest products

Total trade in forest products is expected to grow in proportion to the expansion of aggregate consumption. The expansion of forest product exports of the developing countries may see a lower rate than the expansion of consumption as priority is given to meeting domestic demand. Likewise, imports of the developing countries may grow less rapidly than consumption as priority is given to increase self-sufficiency in forest products for which there is comparative advantage in domestic production. Expansion of trade will be greatest in manufactured products, reflecting the strong tendency to concentrate on products with higher value added, with a concomitant decline in the trade in unprocessed wood raw material.

Net importing regions of East Asia, particularly China and Japan, and the Near East and Europe may be expected to continue to increase their import demand. The main net exporting regions will continue to be North America, Scandinavia, Insular South East Asia, the Russian Federation and South America.

The trade environment for forest products

Generally speaking, imports of unprocessed roundwood are free from tariffs. Producing countries frequently impose restrictions and bans or discriminatory taxes on export of unprocessed wood with the objective of stimulating local processing, securing raw material supply to local industry or discouraging forest depletion. Concerning manufactured wood products, high tariffs are in place in some countries particularly on wood-based panels and paper. The objectives may be general protection of the industry or protection of an "infant" industry.

In recent years developed country environmental groups, concerned about tropical forests, were convinced that by stopping trade in tropical timber, damage and destruction of tropical forests would be reduced. They have pressed for embargoes and boycotts on imports of tropical timber and some companies and local government authorities in developed countries have excluded the use of tropical timber in their products and contracts. Others have introduced the idea of labelling timber to prove that it originates from sustainably managed forests. The International Tropical Timber Organization has approved best practice guidelines for the sustainable management of tropical forests and set the year 2000 as a target date by which all exports of tropical timber should come from sustainably managed forests.

FAO (1994b) reports that recent empirical studies contradict the view that logging for international timber trade is a major cause of deforestation and environmental degradation. Nearly all logging in the tropics is for domestic consumption, and only about 6 percent of the wood cut in the tropics enters the international timber trade. Country case studies show that bans on trade in tropical timber, meant to protect tropical forests, are mostly ineffective and can even be counterproductive, resulting in higher environmental costs. They are ineffective mainly because of the already noted minor importance of exports in total tropical timber production decisions and because of the opportunities for trade diversion to countries without import restrictions. They can be counterproductive where diminished prospects for export earnings lead to reduced incentives to manage forests in a sustainable way or even to conversion of forest areas to alternative uses such as agriculture.

The provisions of the Uruguay Round Agreement (described in Chapter 8) imply reductions of tariffs by the developed countries on wood, pulp and furniture from an average rate of 3.5 percent to 1.1 percent, and those for wood-based panels from 9.5 percent to 6.5 percent. The result would be to reduce further the prevailing degree of tariff escalation faced by forest products in developed country markets. A number of developing countries will also reduce tariffs but levels will remain relatively high. For example, plywood tariffs after the reductions will still be 20 percent in Brazil, 35 percent in China and 40 percent in Indonesia.

An important impact of the decline in tariff rates for forest products in developed country markets is that the tariff differential between "Most Favoured Nation" (MFN) and "Generalized System of Preferences" (GSP) rates has been reduced significantly. Most tariff reductions have led to a general decline in the MFN rates, while the GSP rates have been left largely unchanged. This suggests that exporters facing the full MFN rates may gain more from falling forest products tariff rates than developing countries that previously benefited from GSP and other preferential schemes.

People In forestry and employment

Employment generated in forestry and forest industries is considerable. Part of it is the formal employment by enterprises and part is informal employment of members of households to meet their own consumption needs. The informal sector work includes the collection and harvesting of wood for fuel and charcoal making, as well as the collection of foods, medicinal and artisanal materials and hunting. People are also involved in the cultivation of forest land for food and cash crops as well as in the collection of fodder and grazing of livestock in the forest.

Formal employment by enterprises includes employment in forest management, silviculture and transport of wood. There is also the employment in research, education and training and extension services. In the forest industry sector there is the employment in management, production and marketing of sawnwood, wood-based panels, pulp and paper, together with the considerable employment in further manufactures, joinery, furniture, packaging and paper products.

A broad and crude estimate of employment in terms of work-years may be derived from the estimates of the value of the sector's output. This suggests the equivalent of 60 million work-years globally. Of these, some 12 million are in the developed countries, more than 90 percent occupied in industry-related activities, and 48 million are the work-years in the developing countries, half in fuelwood gathering and charcoal production and half in industry-related activities. These estimates are indicative of much higher average levels of labour productivity in the developed country industry, dominated by the very high output per unit of employment in capital intensive industries. The estimate of some 20-25 million work-years in fuelwood and charcoal production in the developing countries refers to production and does not include work related to the delivery of fuelwood from tree to hearth. An estimated 3 billion people in the developing countries depend mainly on wood for fuel (FAO, 1994b). Fuelwood gathering is mainly carried out by members of the household, and therefore this type of work forms part of the daily tasks of the members of some 650 million households.

5.4 Forest and the environment

As forests occupy some 26 percent of the land area of the globe, they are an important part of the environment, they provide environmental services and are in turn influenced by the environment. Forests provide the habitat for a large proportion of the world's plant and animal species, are the home and living environment of indigenous people and constitute a resource from which people derive sustenance. In their service function, forests contribute to the conservation of mountain watersheds, soil and water and provide shelter from wind and help prevent desertification and conserve biological diversity. Forests and trees have a role in modulating the microclimates and the local climates of regions. Forests, comprising a major component of the terrestrial biomass, enter significantly into the carbon cycle and play a part in determining the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and thereby have an impact on the global climate change attributed to changes in the levels of CO2 and other "greenhouse" gases in the atmosphere.

Changes in the forest influence its performance of environmental services. Thus, the use of the forest for production functions or the change in use is inextricably interrelated with its performance of environmental functions. Forest ecosystems are subject to change due to natural causes such as volcanic eruptions, cyclones or lightning fire. Considerable areas of forests in the tropical and temperate regions are more or less undisturbed as natural ecosystems and habitats of their indigenous flora and fauna. However, human intervention is a major determinant of the course of change.

In many countries, protected areas have been established to secure the conservation of ecosystems, species and their heritable variation that are endangered and vulnerable. The management of mountain forests in vulnerable watersheds and catchments aims at the conservation of soil and water and the control of erosion and siltation to alleviate flooding downstream and to modulate water flows for sustained supply. Forests have been planted for protection against wind and to control desertification. Programmes of fire control are instituted to reduce damage to the environment. Specific programmes of afforestation have been initiated with the explicit purpose of sequestering CO2. Forests are managed and trees are planted to improve the atmosphere and landscape for urban populations. Trees are planted in conjunction with agriculture and livestock for shelter, fertilization of soil and soil conservation as well as for their complementary products. In short, the management and conservation of forests is a multipurpose activity.

In the case of necessary transfer of forest land to agriculture and the ensuing deforestation, the key issue is how to manage the process to ensure sustainability of development. It has to be recognized that after the change of land use, the forest is no longer there to perform its productive or service functions. Some functions, such as ecosystem conservation, will be totally lost; others, such as soil and water conservation, will require alternative approaches for the sustainable management of the land resources. In the uncontrolled degradation and destruction of forests, both the productive and the service contributions of the forests may be lost, unless specific action is taken to prevent this from happening.

Forestry, forest industries and the environment: compatibility and conflict

The use of the forest and its products in the economy is often compatible with environmental objectives but there are also areas of competition and conflict. The production of wood is a renewable process, to a high degree compatible with and complementary to the functions of forest in conserving soil, water and biodiversity. Because of renewability, the use of wood and its derivatives is benign in respect of the carbon cycle. In the best case, CO2 eventually released in burning wood for energy production is sequestered in the growth of wood that replaces it. The use of wood in energy production substitutes for fossil fuel and, given the possibilities for regrowth, can reduce the net release of CO2. Mechanical wood products require in general low energy inputs in their manufacture and they substitute for high energy structural materials such as steel, aluminium and cement. Although paper production requires a relatively high energy consumption, its production process has become rather energy efficient, particularly where it uses spent liquors in energy generation combined with the process of chemical recovery.

Forestry and forest industries may involve conflict with environmental objectives. Cutting wood from the forest disturbs the ecological balance and, if extensive, may have a significant impact on ecosystems. Disturbance of the forest, road construction and logging activity may have a significant impact on soil and water relations. The development of access roads may facilitate colonization and clearance of remaining forest for agriculture and pasture, reinforcing the impact on the ecological balance and soil and water relations. Destruction of forest may be associated with burning and release of CO2. Forest management and reforestation for wood production may locally reduce biodiversity. Forest and plantation management may involve pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers which, if misused, may have adverse effects on the environment. Forest industries involve use of energy, water and inputs in the production process and the generation of residues, effluent and emissions resulting in pollution of land, water and the atmosphere. The products of industry may be damaging to the environment due to leaching of components such as preservative materials or the noxious gaseous emissions from adhesives. The inputs and additions in manufacture may render the wood or paper material less easy to recycle.

To minimize the harmful impacts, countries take action to secure sustainable development of the forestry sector through management of forests and public land and regulation of cutting and regeneration of private forests. Some countries have policies and subsidy programmes supporting private forest management and reforestation. The European Community has recently introduced incentives to favour afforestation as a means of "setting aside" land from agricultural use. In the USA cutting has been restricted on public forest lands that provide the habitat for species classified as endangered.

Forest industries are subject to regulations controlling the permitted levels of noxious waste and chemicals in the water, effluent and noxious gases in smoke stack emissions. Specific regulations have been introduced in a number of countries requiring use of recycled fibre in paper products and requiring the collection of used paper packaging. The reuse of waste paper is subsidized in some countries.

A particular matter of international concern is the high rate of deforestation in tropical regions and particularly the threat that this poses to the conservation of biodiversity and the natural resource base. The Tropical Forests Action Programme (FAO, 1985, 1991f) was initiated jointly by FAO, the World Bank, UNDP and the World Resources Institute (WRI) as an international initiative to assist tropical countries to confront this issue and particularly to increase their commitment, capability and resources towards the sustainable management of their forests.

Several environmental factors influence the state of the forest and its role in sustainable development. Atmospheric pollution has significant impacts on the health and growth of forests in some regions. Significant climatic change, affecting seasonal temperatures and rainfall, as well as increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere would have an impact on the growth and eventually on the distribution of species. International agreements on measures to control emissions of noxious chemicals in the atmosphere and eventually to control the level of "greenhouse" gases would contribute to contain these effects on the forest.

The above summary of positive and negative relationships between the use of wood in the economy and the environment and the review of institutional approaches and policies, provides a partial picture of the complex set of options. For sound decisions, the trade-offs between the relative benefits of wood as an industrial material and its potential for environmental harm, the issues of complementarily and competition between use of wood in the economy vis-a-vis alternative materials and the pros and cons of the exclusive use of forest for environmental benefits have to be assessed.

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