The new Director of the Forest Products Division, Dr Wulf Killmann, took up his duties in January 1999. We are honoured that Dr Killmann has accepted our invitation to write the editorial for this issue.
The 14th Session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) was held in Rome from 1 to 5 March 1999. COFO has been convened every two years since 1971 to review FAO's forestry work programmes and their implementation, as well as to guide the FAO Council. More than 400 representatives from 130 countries discussed forestry issues of international relevance. Needless to say, Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Fires were both high on the agenda, as were FAO's Outlook Studies.
An important issue that was brought up, however, was that of fuelwood supply, with a number of countries making it a special point in their country presentations. The need to gather more information on fuelwood was even mentioned in COFO's report (under item 18) to the FAO Council. In addition, one of COFO's side meetings was dedicated to "Opportunities for the forest sector within the Kyoto Protocol".
In time for COFO, FAO's report State of the World's Forests 1999 (SOFO 1999) was published in the Organization's five official languages. SOFO gives an overview of recent changes in forest cover, trends in forest management, developments in forest policy and international initiatives. Within the context of developments in the supply and demand of forest products, the importance of fuelwood and charcoal as sources for household energy is pointed out [see under Special Features for more information on SOFO].
This issue of Forest Energy Forum focuses on carbon sequestration and substitution. In fact, the subject is becoming so important that we have decided to dedicate a special section to it [see Forests branch off ... into carbon sequestration and substitution]. We also supply you with news on stoves, biodiesel and our Wood Energy Information System (WEIS). Our Country Compass travels the world on the forest energy footpath, and we give you the latest literature which might be of interest.
As most of you know, Rome is full of fora (the Latin word forum means public space), all of them at least 2 000 years old, and in ruins. This, though, is your forum, young and still under construction.
It is your platform to exchange ideas, views, and experiences on forest energy. We are glad and proud to function as facilitators to maintain this forum for the participation of all our readers.
We thank you all for your keen interest and are looking forward to your response.
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