As would be indicated by the scope and extent of the extensive literature reviewed in the present study, considerable effort has been devoted to the development of databases by all parties. To a large extent, FAO has been the primary collector and developer of country specific data on forests (area and volumes) based on country input. Data on production and trade is also compiled by FAO. However, much of the work of specific outlook analysis requires ongoing efforts to collect and systematically utilize huge amounts of secondary data. Development of timber supply and market models are data intensive. ITTO has major responsibilities in data collection and synthesis, while other major organizations, including the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, are the recipients of numerous studies and analysis of the forestry sector.
The comparison of study results and findings is often confused or hampered by the undocumented differences in underlying data, inconsistent 'base years' and differing inclusiveness or coverage. At best there is considerable overlap and duplication of effort in collection, maintenance, and processing of information relevant to the analysis of the forestry sector of the Asia Pacific region. At worst, confusion and conflicting findings or results can inhibit the progress toward a common goal of region-wide development of strategies and policies making the most productive use of the region's forest potential for improvement of the human condition recognizing the need for environmental responsibilities.
It is Recommended that a major effort be undertaken by the key international and national authorities to consolidate existing data sources and information reporting into a broader comprehensive system, maintained for common use and access, with timely updating based on country information and supplemented by regional studies and future findings. This can potentially be a decentralized effort but with formal coordination and procedures for open access so that individual analyses can proceed on a consistent and comparable basis.