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Annex 2: Definitions

Country groups

Reference to regions and sub-regions (indicated in bold letters) below correspond to the country groups indicated in Data Table 1 and 2 of Annex 3. These in turn use the definitions of the FAOSTAT Country Groups List of FAO. In addition to the regional groups used by SOFO, the term 'Latin America' is used to represent Mexico and the countries of Central America and South America.

Developed countries

Includes all industrialized countries and countries in transition.

Industrialized countries

Includes all countries in Europe except Eastern Europe, plus Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.

Countries in transition

Includes all countries in the area of the former USSR and Eastern Europe.

Developing countries

Includes all countries other than developed countries, namely: all countries in Africa except South Africa, all countries in Asia except Israel and Japan, all countries in Oceania except Australia and New Zealand, and all countries in North and Central America except Canada and USA, and all countries in South America.

Tropical countries

As indicated in Data Tables 1 and 2.

Temperate/non-tropical countries

As indicated in Data Tables 1 and 2.

Forest and related land cover

These definitions have been adopted for use in the Global Forest Resources Assessment of FAO. They apply to the FRA 1990 and 1995 sets of forest cover data. Some terms have two definitions: one when used in conjunction with developing countries and another when applied to developed countries. This is due to different data collection methods used by the two organizations involved; FAO (for developing countries) and the UN-ECE's Trade Division, Timber Section (for developed countries). FRA 2000 and subsequent assessments will use a common set of definitions.


The establishment of a tree crop on an area from which it has always or very long been absent. Where such establishment fails and is repeated, the latter may properly be termed reafforestation.


Establishment of a tree crop on forest land.:

Definitions applied for developed countries


Land with tree crown cover (stand density) of more than about 20 percent of the area. Continuous forest with trees usually growing to more than about 7 m in height and able to produce wood. This includes both closed forest formations where trees of various storeys and undergrowth cover a high proportion of the ground, and open forest formations with a continuous grass layer in which tree synusia cover at least 10 percent of the ground.


Change of forest with depletion of tree crown cover to less than 20 percent.

Other wooded land

Land which has some forestry characteristics but is not forest as denned above. It includes open woodland and scrub, shrub and brushland (see below) whether or not used for pasture or range. It excludes land occupied by 'trees outside the forest'.

Open woodland

Land with tree crown cover (stand density of about 5-20 percent of the area).

Scrub, shrub and brushland

Land with scrub, shrub or stunted trees, where the main woody elements are shrubs (usually more than 50 cm and less than 7 m in height) covering more than about 20 percent of the area; land not primarily used for agricultural or other non-forestry purposes such as grazing of domestic animals.

Exploitable forest

Forest and other wooded land on which there are no legal, economic or technical restrictions on wood production. It includes areas where, although there are no such restrictions, harvesting is not currently taking place, for example, areas included in long-term utilization plans or intentions.

Definitions applied for developing countries


Ecosystem with a minimum of 10 percent crown cover of trees and/or bamboos, generally associated with wild flora, fauna and natural soil conditions, and not subject to agricultural practices. The term forest is further subdivided, according to its origin, into two categories:

i) Natural forests: a subset of forests composed of tree species known to be indigenous to the area; and

ii) Plantation forests:

· established artificially by afforestation on lands which previously did not carry forest within living memory;

· established artificially by reforestation of land which carried forest before, and involving the

replacement of the indigenous species by a new and essentially different species or genetic variety.


Change of forest with depletion of tree crown cover to less than 10 percent. (Changes within the forest class, e.g., from closed to open forest, which negatively affect the stand or site and, in particular, lower the production capacity, are termed forest degradation and are considered apart from deforestation.)

Other wooded land

Includes the following:

i) Forest fallow, consisting of all complexes of woody vegetation deriving from the clearing of natural forest for shifting agriculture. It consists of a mosaic of various successional phases and includes patches of uncleared forests and agriculture fields which cannot be realistically segregated and accounted for area-wise, especially from satellite imagery. Forest fallow is an intermediate class between forest and non-forest land uses. Part of the area which is not under cultivation may have the appearance of a secondary forest. Even the part currently under cultivation sometimes has the appearance of forest due to the presence of tree cover. Accurate separation between forest and forest fallow may not always be possible.

ii) Shrubs, referring to vegetation types where the dominant woody elements are shrubs with more than 50 cm and less than 5 m height on maturity. The height limits for trees and shrubs should be interpreted with flexibility, as the minimum tree and maximum shrub heights may vary between 5 and 7 m approximately.

Forest products definitions

These definitions are an abbreviated form of those used by the Yearbook of Forest Products issued by FAO. See that publication for full details.


Wood in its natural state as removed from forests and from trees outside the forest; wood in the rough. Commodities include all forms of industrial roundwood and fuelwood.

Fuelwood and charcoal

Wood harvested for fuel. Charcoal is converted to roundwood equivalent volume.

Industrial roundwood

The commodities included are sawlogs or veneer logs, pulpwood, other industrial roundwood. In the case of trade, chips and particles and wood residues are also included.

Pulpwood and particles

Includes pulpwood, chips, particles and wood residues. In production, the commodities included are pulpwood. In trade, the aggregate also includes chips or particles and wood residues.

Chips and particles

Includes wood that has been deliberately reduced to small pieces from wood in the rough or from industrial residues, suitable for pulping, for particle board and fibreboard production, for fuelwood or for other purposes.

Other industrial roundwood

Includes roundwood used for tanning, distillation, match blocks, gazogenes, poles, piling, posts, pitprops, etc.

Wood-based panels

The aggregate includes the following commodities:

veneer sheets, plywood, particle board and fibreboard. Particle board includes varieties such as oriented strand board (OSB), flakeboard, etc. Fibreboard includes hardboard, medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and insulation fibreboard.

Wood pulp

The following commodities are included in this aggregate: mechanical, semi-chemical, chemical and dissolving wood pulp.

Recovered paper

Used paper and paperboard or residues from paper conversion, collected for re-use as a raw material for the manufacture of paper, paperboard or other products.

Paper and paperboard

The following commodities are included in this aggregate: newsprint, printing and writing paper, other paper and paper-board.

Species definitions

Coniferous (C)

All woods derived from trees classified botanically as Gymnospermae. These are generally referred to as softwoods.

Non-coniferous (NC)

All woods derived from trees classified botanically as Angiospermae. These are generally referred to as broadleaved or hardwoods.

Definitions used in relation to protected areas

Categories of protected areas (of at least 1 000 ha) according to the IUCN System are as follows.

Totally-protected areas

Totally-protected areas are maintained in a natural state and are closed to extractive uses. They encompass the following three management categories:

Category I

Scientific reserves and strict nature reserves possess outstanding, representative ecosystems. Public access is generally limited, with only scientific research and educational use permitted.

Category II

National parks and provincial parks are relatively large areas of national or international significance not materially altered by humans. Visitors may use them for recreation and study.

Category III

Natural monuments and natural landmarks contain unique geological formations, special animals or plants, or unusual habitats.

Partially-protected areas

Partially-protected areas are areas that may be managed for specific uses, such as recreation or tourism, or areas that provide optimum conditions for certain species or communities of wildlife. Some extractive use within these areas is allowed. They encompass two management categories:

Category IV

Managed nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries are protected for specific purposes, such as conservation of a significant plant or animal species.

Category V

Protected landscapes and seascapes may be entirely natural or may include cultural landscapes (e.g. scenically-attractive agricultural areas).

Other areas

Buffer zone

An area adjacent to a protected area, on which land use is partially restricted to give an added layer of protection to the protected area itself while providing valued benefits to neighbouring rural communities.

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