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The world of forestry

World forestry in 1984: US$270000 million
Planting old trees in Jakarta
The kebun: Garden-forests of Indonesia
Pulp and paper growth in 1984
New Kenyan forestry newsletter
Low-grade hardwoods in US packaging
The ancient forests of reunion
Pampas grass a threat to forestry?
Growth in US Christmas tree harvest
Training course in ergonomics
Building low-cost wooden houses

World forestry in 1984: US$270000 million

Global activity in the forestry sector in 1984 reflected more vigorous expansion of the modern economic sector of developing countries and the recovery in growth of the United States economy combined with the slower growth in other developed economies.

Output of roundwood products in 1984, according to new FAO figures, grew more slowly than the average for the period 1974 to 1984, but that of processed wood products grew faster than the long-term average, particularly for pulp and paper products (see table).

In developing countries the main contribution of the forestry sector is to energy supply, particularly for rural communities. The consumption of fuelwood in developing countries in 1984 was 1400 million m3, the energy equivalent of 460 million tonnes of coal. This contribution can be valued at around US$70000 million. Fuelwood and wood recycled in the energy systems of developed countries contribute a further $20000 million a year.

MOTORIZED SAW IN GUATEMALA aiming at self-sufficiency

The developing countries' production of modern-sector wood products - sawnwood, wood-based panels and paper - was 94 million m3, 17 million m3 and 15 million tonnes respectively, valued in total at around $30000 million. The production of these modern-sector wood products in developed countries can be valued at around $150000 million. Thus, the sector makes a contribution to the world economy of some $270000 million annually.

The greatest expansion in wood products occurred with paper, which increased at rates of 7 percent in North America and 10 percent in Europe. The increased pressure of demand on capacity in developed countries has favoured production in developing countries because developed-country exports have been less competitive and there have been increased opportunities in international markets, particularly for paper pulp.

Developing countries depend on imports for some 25 percent of their consumption of paper, and for IS percent of the pulp input for local paper production. Paper and pulp production capacity is growing faster than consumption, and this is an important area in which developing countries are reducing their overall dependence on imports. (see also "Pulp and paper growth in 1984" below - Ed.).

The development of mechanically processed wood products was less favourable. Although consumption expanded to recover the previous peak level of 1979, industry capacity had been rationed to reduce costs but, in effect, to increase capacity as well. The resulting intensive competition in the market has tended to cause prices to fall. Several developing countries with sawmilling industries oriented to export markets had difficulty in finding outlets, and their production fell.

World output of main forest products (Wood: millions of m3; paper: millions of tonnes)




Change, 1984 to 1985 (%)

Annual rate of change 1974 to 1984 (%)







Total developing countries






Total developed countries






Fuelwood and charcoal






Total developing countries






Total developed countries






Industrial roundwood






Total developing countries






Total developed countries






Processed wood products

Sawnwood and sleepers






Total developing countries






Total developed countries






Wood-based panels






Total developing countries






Total developed countries







Pulp for paper






Total developing countries






Total developed countries






Paper and paperboard






Total developing countries






Total developed countries






Planting old trees in Jakarta

Residents of Jakarta have begun a major tree-planting campaign. The project was initiated largely by students at the Institute of Ecology of the National University and has resulted in nurseries on the campus grounds and a large-scale replanting scheme for Indonesia's capital.

According to Indonesia's Foundation for Nature Conservation Education, the actual improvement of Jakarta's environment started 20 years ago with a crash programme of planting fast-growing trees and the designation of large areas as "green zones". Every new development plan was to contain open space for the planting of greenery. The Governor of Jakarta recently prohibited the felling of trees and urged citizens to plant as many trees as they can.

Until recently only a small variety of fast-growing trees was used, but now an effort is being made to reintroduce fruit and trees used for decorative and medicinal purposes and, where possible, to create forests like the mangrove forest along the coast of the Bay of Jakarta. Research has indicated that the whole area was once covered by trees producing fruits and other valuable products which have since become rare.

The Institute of Ecology and the Foundation for Nature Conservation Education are cooperating to rediscover old trees and, in cooperation with government officials, to plant them in the districts that still bear their name. Such trees include ketapang (Indian almond) in the Ketapang Quarter; gandaria trees (Bouea macrophylla) along Gandaria Street; jeruk (orange trees) along Jeruk Street; and duku (langsep) along Duku Street.

World Wildlife Fund News

The kebun: Garden-forests of Indonesia

Wherever trees are the predominant feature of the environment, they are found associated with cultivation. Such a relationship is particularly evident in regions that have always been devoted to forestry. In densely forested countries, agriculture began by adopting elements and structures from the forest ecosystem. Combinations of trees and annual plants are frequent and reflect both the agricultural customs and food habits of their creators.

Market and kitchen gardens can be identified as basic traditional systems which derive from frequently modified models that some observers feel are examples of intensive agroforestry systems. There are, however, other examples as well. In a recent doctoral thesis presented at the Languedoc Science and Technical University, Montpellier, France, by Geneviève Michon, one such example - the Indonesian kebun (garden-forest) system is thoroughly analysed and documented.

In the Pesisir region of Sumatra, established farming areas are concentrated along the coasts, but as the first hills appear, the demarcation between agricultural and forest land becomes blurred. It is in this zone that the kebun are established.

One example is the damar kebun where Shorea javanica, a producer of resinous essences, is prevalent. Damar kebun are in fact artificial forests, without in any way being monocultural plantations. Many tree species are found in the damar which, taken together, provide marketable produce, foods, medicines and other products. In a certain sense, Perisir farmers reconstruct a forest ecosystem where they have cleared the original forest.

In the flora of the damar kebun, the damar is dominant, but it coexists with a diversity of other species. These are generally local forest fruiting species which may sometimes include such exotic species as clove and nutmeg.

The method of establishing the damar kebun is rather complex. In the first two years after clearing, the area is planted with rice; during the second year, coffee plants are interspersed with the rice; in the third year, rice-planting is abandoned, leaving only coffee shrubs, among which the damar, brought from village nursery gardens, are planted. The coffee plant will produce in the following year and for a further three or four years before it, in turn, is abandoned. In the meantime the damar begins to grow and gradually replaces the forest.

The natural flora of the forest is not systematically destroyed, and certain plants are very carefully maintained, especially the primary forest species that preceded the establishment of the kebun. The undergrowth, by contrast, is cleared fairly regularly so that, on the whole, the soil gets more sunlight in the kebun than in the forest, with far-reaching effects on the plant dynamics.

THE INTERIOR OF A PULP MILL more growth than other heavy industries

The same kind of heterogeneity in the ecosystems of natural forests applies to kebun, identified by a great profusion of species, a complex vertical structure and a characteristic evolution.

A kebun damar is not managed in the same way as a forest plantation, where natural factors induce changes on the basis of evolution and re-establishment of windfalls. Once a tree has fallen, people intervene by cutting the trunk for timber or firewood. The gap remaining is filled by the more or less permanent establishment of heliophilic (sun-loving) species.

From this combination of natural phenomena and human activity, a strict interdependence between people and trees develops where each, to some extent, works for the welfare of the other.

Fay Banana, Rome

Pulp and paper growth in 1984

Worldwide paper and board production jumped in 1984 by 12.6 million tonnes, or 7.1 percent, to a total of almost 190 million tonnes. Expressed in other terms, that growth alone almost equals the combined output of Sweden and Finland.

Among the major producing regions, the European Economic Community countries had the highest growth rate (9 percent). Europe as a whole, including Eastern Europe and the USSR, had a 7.9 percent growth rate, Latin America 8.4 percent, Austral-Asia 9.4 percent and Asia 7.7 percent. North America had the lowest growth rate at 5 percent.

Several developing countries, including China, Brazil, Mexico, India and the Republic of Korea, showed significant gains among the world's top 20 producers (see table). China, for example, has now firmly settled in as the world's sixth-largest producer of paper and board, ahead of Finland, and if China's 10 percent-plus growth rate of the last three years continues very much longer, it will surpass the Federal Republic of Germany within a few years.

The world's top 20 producers and consumers of paper and board (Quantities in thousands of tonnes)

Paper and board production

Pulp production

Paper and board consumption

% change 1984/83

% change 1984/83

% change 1984/83

1. United States



1. United States



1. United States



2. Japan



2. Canada



2. Japan



3. Canada



3. Sweden



3. Germany, Fed. Rep.






4. Japan






5. Germany, Fed. Rep.






5. United Kingdom



6. China



6. Finland



6. China



7. Finland



7. China



7. France



8. Sweden



8. Brazil



8. Italy



9. France



9. Germany, Fed. Rep.



9. Canada



10. Italy



10. France



10. Brazil



11. Brazil



11. Norway



11. Spain



12. United Kingdom



12. Spain



12. Netherlands



13. Spain



13. Austria



13. Mexico



14. Mexico



14. South Africa



14. Australia



15. Korea, Rep. Of



15. New Zealand



15. Korea, Rep. of



16. Taiwan, China



16. Portugal



16. Taiwan, China



17. Austria



17. Czechoslovakia



17. Sweden



18. Netherlands



18. India



18. Belgium



19. Norway



19. Poland



19. India



20. Australia



20. Romania



20. South Africa



Twenty years ago, before the majority of people in this industry began their careers, paper was big in a few countries, minor in a few others, and rather insignificant in most. Today there are some 25 countries whose paper industries each make at least I million tonnes of paper and board annually, twice the number of 20 years ago. To these, one can add 15 other countries in which paper is definitely significant in terms of industrial importance. There are at least 40 countries with what one might call "self-sustaining" paper industries. Few other industries can claim such a wide international distribution.

The pulp and paper industry has continued growing through the late 1970s and 1980s while other heavy industries have faltered - steel, shipbuilding, synthetic fibres, oil and mining to name a few. This continued growth has come despite some rather formidable obstacles. These include the oil crises of the 1970s, with their devastating effect on the production costs of such a heavily energy-intensive industry, and the electronics revolution, which was at first expected to bring reduced markets for certain types of paper. On top of this, the industry has gone through and is still going through major restructuring.

Pulp and Paper International

New Kenyan forestry newsletter

Rural Forestry, a newsletter of the Extension and Information Services of Kenya's Forestry Department, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, recently made its debut into the world of scholarly scientific publishing.

The first issue (May 1985) introduces the reader to a range of topics to be covered in future issues. Written with a "light touch" that, it is hoped, will appeal to scientists and non-scientists alike, the newsletter intends to serve as a clearing-house for information concerning all aspects of rural forestry in Kenya.

The "rural forestry" of the title refers to tree-planting outside gazetted forests, be it on farms or village wood-lots, in school yards, or along roadsides. This includes tree-planting for local fuelwood supply, poles, browse, fodder, erosion control, soil enrichment and shade, and for range management and agroforestry systems.

Rural Forestry intends to guide people on who is doing what - and where - in rural forestry. It will strive to give objective coverage to specific projects and activities, and hence welcomes inputs from people on their successes and failures, letters, technical notes, short articles and questions regarding any pressing technical problems.

The first issue has attempted to compile a comprehensive list of organizations, programmes and projects concerned with forestry - except those of NGOs. In addition, mention is made of "who's who" in Kenya, including donors and government and NGO personnel.

Kengo News Bulletin

Low-grade hardwoods in US packaging

One of the largest outlets in the United States for wood is packaging. Years ago, most products were shipped in nailed containers made from prime softwoods. Today, however, hardwoods are more frequently used, and corrugated fibreboard containers have virtually replaced wooden crates for many items. The shipment of fresh fruits and vegetables is a good example. Fifteen or twenty years ago, most fruits and vegetables were shipped in wood boxes, baskets or wire-bound containers. Today, fruits as small as grapes or as large as melons are shipped in corrugated fibreboard boxes.

In the 1920s, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Products Laboratory research proved that hardwoods could replace prime softwoods for shipping if they were properly handled. More recently, improved paperboards and container designs have made corrugated fibreboard very popular. Erroneously referred to as "cardboard'', corrugated fibreboard is a high-stiffness-to-weight sandwich material, is lower in cost than wooden containers and can be recycled.

An integral part of packaging is pallets, which are used to provide more efficient handling, shipment and distribution from the manufacturer to the consumer. Pallets allow more efficient handling by mechanized equipment and reduce loss and damage. Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) research in this area led to the development of the impact panel. This simple attachment for fork-lift trucks significantly reduces the damage to the leading edge deckboards of wood pallets - a common problem when using conventional equipment. The impact panel reduces service life as much as 60 times and reduces the total amount of wood required for this purpose. This is quite significant, as nearly one-fifth of all lumber is made into pallets. Furthermore, pallets are the biggest user of low-grade hardwood lumber.

One of the most exciting developments in packaging in the last 75 years has been the development of the American Society for Testing and Materials Standard Practice for Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems. With knowledge of the shipping environment and other testing methods, it is now possible to evaluate a product and package under simulated shipping conditions. This allows one to determine the minimum packaging required to ship the product successfully from manufacturer to consumer.

The ability to substitute low-grade hardwoods for softwoods in papermaking has significantly reduced the cost of raw material to the paper industry. This has helped to keep down the cost for packaging materials and, subsequently, hold down the cost of food, clothing and other essential items.

Corrugated fibreboard suffers, however, from the deleterious effects of moisture. Coatings and chemical treatments have been used successfully to reduce the sensitivity of paper to moisture, but the effect is short-term. The single biggest challenge is the development of an economic way to make paper rigid and dimensionally stable when wet and still be able to score and fold the material when dry. Significant progress has been made in this area with the advent of the FPL SOFORM process - a procedure that treats corrugated fibreboard with formaldehyde and sulphur dioxide. Thus far, test results show great promise for someday using the treated fibreboard structurally.

With continued success in packaging research, the timber supply can be extended by using wood and recycled fibre more efficiently and by providing outlets to use species that are at present underutilized.

John W. Koning, Jr,
and James F. Laundrie
USDA Forest Products Laboratory,
Madison Wisconsin USA

The ancient forests of reunion

Three centuries of uncontrolled forest clearing, primarily to increase the extent of profitable coffee-growing, have resulted in the disappearance of an important part of the forest cover of the island of Reunion near Madagascar. At the time the French landed on the island in 1642, it was deserted and the forest extended to the very edge of the sea.

What remains of the primary forest is in the Commune of St Philippe, where the presence of an active volcano and a very hot and humid climate, and the absence of arable land have strongly discouraged human settlement.

B. Brucimacchie, in his article on the dense moist forests of southern Reunion ("Les forêts denses humides du sud de la Réunion") in Revue forestière française (No. 6, 1984), studies the present state of the forest in St Philippe with the aid of inventory results, an examination of the structure and "temperament" of the principal species and their adaptation to different soils and altitudes and, finally, an analysis of both natural and artificial regeneration.

Brucimacchie says that some initiatives have been taken over the past 30 years to renew the forests by artificial regeneration and to try to save the splendid "bois des îles" which successive cuttings and clearings have nearly destroyed from extinction. Since preservation of this forest cover is incompatible with logging, Brucimacchie says, it will be necessary to establish state-owned biological reserves.

Fay Banana, Rome

Pampas grass a threat to forestry?

New Zealand foresters are concerned over the possibility of pampas grass becoming a serious pest in both plantations and native forests.

According to Russell Dale, principal forester with the New Zealand Forest Service, pampas grass has become a major weed problem in some exotic forests north of Rotorua. It is also found in many other forests, he said, and if left unchecked could soon become a severe problem in these areas too. All forests in the North Island of New Zealand and in warmer South Island localities are considered to be at risk.

In all areas, reduction of the seed source by preventing the use of pampas for land stabilization or shelter in or near forest areas is now recommended by the New Zealand Forest Service.

"South American pampas grass has been widely planted in New Zealand", says a Forest Service pamphlet, "as a fodder supplement for cattle, for shelter, [for] erosion control, and as an ornamental. It has become naturalized in many areas and is now a common sight on wastelands and along roadsides where it is often considered decorative. However, in some exotic forests, from the Bay of Plenty northwards, pampas has become a major weed problem. It competes with trees and reduces growth, impedes access for silviculture and thereby increases management costs, and creates a fire hazard because of the buildup of dead foliage within the plant clumps."

Australian Forest Grower

Growth in US Christmas tree harvest

Harvesting of Christmas trees in the United States more than doubled between 1972 when 9438155 trees were harvested, and 1982, when the total harvest reached 19024803. During the same decade, however, the planting of new trees more than tripled, from 19912078 to 69342292.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the primary area of growth for this important secondary forest product has been the southeastern States, which accounted for 6 percent of all new plantations in 1972 and 15 percent one decade later. The trend-setting individual state in this regard has been North Carolina, which harvested less than 140000 trees in 1972 and more than I million a decade later, a more than sevenfold increase.

USDA Forest-Gram South

Training course in ergonomics

The joint (IUFRO/CIGR/IAAMRH) working group on Promotion of Ergonomics in the Tropics is organizing a training course entitled "Introduction to ergonomics". The course is being specially held for staff members researchers, lecturers, extension officers, and so on from tropical and developing countries in agriculture, forestry and agroforestry who want to incorporate ergonomics, or "human engineering", into their jobs.

The training course will be held from 13 October to 21 November 1986 in Wageningen, the Netherlands. For information please write to Secretary Working Group PET F.J. Staudt, Vakgroep Bosbouwtechniek LH, PO Box 342, NL 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Building low-cost wooden houses

UNIDO has issued its first cartoon-style publication: a guide on how to build a low-cost wooden house. Featuring Tony and his parrot friend, Polly, the Popular manual for wooden house construction (ID/330) was originally prepared by the Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas of São Paulo, Brazil, for a self-help community building project at Coroados, Manaus, under a contract with the Housing Society for Manaus.

The purpose of the manual is to provide direct and simple assistance to people and communities that want to build their own houses, either individually or on a cooperative basis. Complicated design calculations have been avoided, and instructions are straightforward and easy to follow.

At present the manual is available only in English, but a Spanish edition will be published soon. Copies are available upon request from Editor, UNIDO Newsletter, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, PO Box 300, A-1400 Vienna, Austria.

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