Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


Study purpose and structure
The Asia Pacific Region


Forestry in the Asia Pacific Rim continues to receive extensive attention from many perspectives. This region, home to some estimated 3 billion inhabitants as of 1994, and including over 2.8 billion ha. of land, contains an extensive range of land forms, climate, socio-economic conditions, forest types, stages of economic development, and levels of forest sector development and utilization.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has been the primary source of ongoing information about the status of the forestry sector, including the component countries of the Asia Pacific region. In cooperation with the Asia Pacific Forestry Commission, FAO has initiated planning for a two year analysis leading to the completion of an Asia Pacific forestry sector outlook study, "The Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector - Towards 2010".

Prior evaluations and analyses have been undertaken by many organizations, including FAO itself. Periodic publications of global and regional Resource Assessments and the related Forest Products Yearbooks are widely recognized as authoritative sources for forestry sector information. Other primary sources of recent regional analyses have included significant works sponsored or undertaken by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank (WB), and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). Other significant work has been undertaken by the Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR) at the University of Washington, Seattle. These analyses have been supported by major international consulting organizations with longstanding expertise in the forestry sector.

There has also been significant in-depth analysis and review of individual country forestry situations as components of the Tropical Forestry Action Programme, Master Plan Development projects, the formulation documents for international assistance projects, and individual government studies of national conditions. What has frequently been lacking, however, is a broader regional context for understanding the dynamics of forestry sector developments. In part, this is internal whereby individual countries pursue their immediate interests, aggregations of countries are viewed as either 'developing' or 'developed', as 'tropical' or as 'temperate', as 'importers' or as 'exporters'.

In reality, the Asia Pacific Region is a mixture of all of these components - and more. Diversity is a hallmark of the region, yet the dynamics of the region dictates the need for a more integrated and total perspective if the future of the area is to be understood in a global context. External to the region are other significant 'players' who may be either consumer-markets and/or potentially competitive producers of forest products. In many cases they are both. The future of the forestry sector of the region will be dynamically determined by both internal developments within individual countries and in response to regional and global factors beyond the influence or control of any individual nation.

Study purpose and structure

The proposed Asia Pacific forestry sector outlook study will seek to build upon the considerable information base that exists. At the same time, the dynamics and interdependencies of the diverse forest economies of the region must be-reflected in a broader and integrated framework capturing the essential determinants of sector development for the region as a whole.

The present study has been undertaken an initial effort to provide a synthesis of the major existing information base for the forestry sector within the Asia Pacific region. Major trends are summarized by sub-region within the Asia Pacific Region. Recent developments in the forestry sector are presented by sub-region. Recent analyses covering all or parts of the region have been reviewed with an emphasis on identification of the determinants of past trends and indicators of likely future developments. Where available, outlook projections are summarized and presented. Drawing upon this depth of information, a summary of major 'issues' confronting the region is developed, and a 'most' likely near term outlook is synthesized in qualitative terms.

The report concludes with a brief identification of major areas where additional research and analysis can contribute to a more complete understanding of the opportunities and challenges confronting the region as it seeks to develop and implement sound policies and direction for a productive and sustainable forestry sector. This policy and direction will undoubtedly be as diverse and unique as are the forest conditions and countries involved. What will emerge, it is hoped, is a collective recognition of a common interest and purpose so that the individually determined strategies can be based on a realistic understanding of the broader regional context.

The Asia Pacific Region

Analysis of the forestry sector must necessarily begin with a definition of the inclusive region of study. Previously, major reviews and studies within the Asia Pacific Region have been limited in scope, necessarily focusing on specific sub-grouping of countries. Groupings of countries have included 'tropical' and 'temperate', 'developing' or 'developed', 'importers' or 'exporters', etc. In the present study, the focus is on the geographic region, preserving the obvious diversities of the various sub-regions and individual countries.

The scope of the present study is provided in Table 1. In general terms, this includes China and Mongolia to the north, Pakistan to the west, New Zealand and Australia to the south, and the Pacific Island countries to or near the International Date line to the east. As identified in Table 1, five sub-regions have been identified, based on geographical location.



Sri Lanka


Viet Nam


Hong Kong
Korea, DPR
Korea, Rep




Am. Samoa
Christmas Island
Cocos Island
Cook Island
East Timor
French Polynesia
Marshall Islands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Norfolk Island
North Mariana Isl
Pacific Islands
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
Wake Island
Wallis & Fatuna

The present study is integrative and a synthesis of presently available information. It draws heavily on major existing studies. An extensive bibliography of the major sources reviewed and utilized in this report is provided, together with an extended listing of supplemental sources. While extensive, these listings are not comprehensive as to all current literature bearing on the forestry sector of the Asia Pacific Region. Many formal and informal publications and reports were unavailable during the preparation of this report. Many analyses are presumed to exist within the files of individual countries, major international organizations, and consulting organizations, university and research centers, and individual companies and public interest organizations.

Much of the basic resource and trade information derives from the work of FAO through the various component studies of the "Forest Resources Assessment 1990" and the related FORIS database maintained by FAO. It also utilizes the FAOSTAT database for forest products production, import and export statistics, together with the related Forest Products Yearbook. Compilations of information from this source is based on the 1996 update of FAOSTAT with statistics generally inclusive to 1994. Major works utilized in this review include the following:

· The World Bank, "Tropical Deforestation in Asia and Market for Wood", report prepared by Jaakko Poyry, November 1992

· Asian Development Bank, "Status of Forestry and Forest Industries in Asia-Pacific Region", report prepared by Jaakko Poyry, November 1995

· International Tropical Timber Organization, "Analysis of Macroeconomic Trends in the Supply and Demand of Sustainably Produced Tropical Timber from the Asia-Pacific Region", Phase II, report prepared by Simons-Reid Collins, March 1995

· International Tropical Timber Organization, "The Economic Linkages between the International Trade in Tropical Timber and the Sustainable Management of Tropical Forests" (2 volumes), report prepared by London Environmental Economics Centre, March 1993.

· International Tropical Timber Organization, "Annual Review and Assessment of the World Tropical Timber Situation", 1996 and prior years.

· Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR), Global Trade Assessment Reports and Reviews, including:

a) Working Paper 18, "An Economic Analysis of Short-Run Timber Supply Around the Globe", 1988

b) Working Paper 22, "A Preliminary Analysis of Timber and Timber Product Production, Consumption, Trade, and Prices in the Pacific Rim Until 2000", 1989

c) Working Paper 29, "Production and Trade in Tropical Hardwoods: An Asian-Pacific Case Study" (with FAO), 1990

d) Working Paper 33, "An Assessment of the Impacts of Recent Environmental and Trade Restrictions on Timber Harvest and Exports", 1991

e) Working Paper 43, "Global Forestry Impacts of Reducing Softwood Supplies from North America", 1993

f) Working Paper 47, "The Impact on Domestic and Global Markets of a Pacific Northwest Log Export Ban or Tax", 1994

g) Working Paper 50, "An Analysis of Proposed Domestic Climate Warming Mitigation Program Impacts on International Forest Products Markets", 1994

In addition to these major CINTRAFOR analyses which utilize the CINTRAFOR Global Trade Model (CGTM), related country analyses completed by the principal author (including Russia, Japan, China) have been extensively utilized here, together with other analyses undertaken by CINTRAFOR staff (including component studies undertaken for the World Bank, ITTO and Jaako Poyry reviews noted above).

· FAO/UNEP, "After UNCED - Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Forest Principles in Asia and the Pacific", 1995

· Forestry Technical Services Pty, Ltd. "Pacific Islands Forest Products Market Prospects, Consultancy report to the World Bank", 1989.

Although these major studies play a central role in the present review, numerous additional country, product, or partial reviews and outlook reports have been examined in the course of this project. Country Tropical Forest Action Programs and similar Country Forest Master Plans exist for the majority of Asia Pacific countries and have been referenced where possible. These additional sources are cited in full in the bibliography and supplemental sources list. A comparative listing of primary country coverage in the major regional analyses is included in Appendix 1 (Study Volume II).

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page