Sources of data
Classifications and definitions
Invitation to provide better data
Among the advantages which FAO highlighted in proposing the Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study (APFSOS) to the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission was that of unifying information. With this in mind, a series of working papers have been issued to complement the main report. This document, like the working papers, brings together information in one place so as to serve as a convenient starting point for analysts who may then consult more detailed information on their topics of particular interest. This particular working paper - the compendium of statistics - is intended to provide a ready reference for data which can meet a wide range of everyday information requirements. Increasing the availability and accessibility of information on various aspects of forestry is one of the main objectives of FAO's expanded programme of outlook studies, which will eventually cover all regions of the world, in addition to selected thematic topics.
The intention of this document is to present readily available information about a range of forestry dimensions - the forest resource, wood, non-wood forest products and some forest functions or benefits. The problem with forestry sector data is often that it mostly only covers wood products and this paper attempts to show that other goods and services also matter even if data about them may not at present be collected in a formalized way.
This Statistical Profile covers information from both structured databases and from other sources, including the country profiles prepared by the countries of the Asia-Pacific region for the APFSOS. All data from FAO databases are presented as they are found in the databases (such as the Yearbook of Forest Products). Other important sources of information have been the World Development Indicators 1997 (World Bank CD ROM); COMTRADE Database of the UN Statistical Office; Yearbook of Labour Statistics of ILO. The databases of FAO were accessed using the FAOSTAT CD ROM, but additional information was also collected from the FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) database, FAO Global Fibre Supply Model (GFSS) database (on CD ROM) and the Pulp and Paper Capacity Survey. The data source is indicated for each table to permit users access the original sources or reports and see the data in context.
Readers will notice that there may be some differences in statistics where information about a topic has come from more than one source. In other cases, statistics about an important topic may be completely absent. Where readers are aware of better statistics than are presented here, they are invited to communicate with the FAO staff indicated in the box earlier in this document (Information Note on Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study). Please note however, that standard FAO practice with regard to statistics is to use official figures provided by governments in response to questionnaire enquiries. Modifications therefore, require some supporting documentation and identification of the source of alternative data.
Standard definitions used for the source databases have been used for all FAO data. Information from elsewhere carries its own definitions in the source documents. A section on "Classifications and Definitions" has been provided for guidance. Please note that definitions for Section V (Grey literature statistics) are mainly given directly together with each table.
Volume I - Socio-Economic, Resources and Non-Wood Products Statistics
Volume II - Wood Products Statistics
Information is provided under several headings and broadly into the following groups: Social-economic, Forest Resources, Forest Products and Other related issues. The tables are issued in two volumes as presented below.
I Social and Economic
This heading includes information of GDP, consumption, investment, savings, trade, population, employment (macro-level) and land use for the period 1970-1995. The main sources of data is the World Development Indicators 1997 from the World Bank (in CD ROM); some data were also extracted from FAOSTAT and the Economic and Social Department of FAO - General Analysis and Projections Group.
II Forest Resources
Data mainly come from the global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) and Global Fibre Supply Study (GFSS) of the Forestry Department of FAO. Some of them have been published in the State of the World's Forests 1997 (SOFO). Includes (a) total forest cover and its changes from 1990 to 1995; (b) area, status and change of total forest, natural forest and forest plantations in 1980-1990-1995 in developing countries; (c) area and volumes of forest available for wood supply in 1995.
III Trade in Non-Wood Forest Products
Structured information on production of non-wood forest products (NWFPs). Only international trade is recorded 'systematically under the UN COMTRADE system. NWFPs are considered to be all biological materials (other than timber and firewood) that may be extracted from natural ecosystems, managed plantations and trees growing on farmlands. Both plant and animal products are included and only the most important have been selected and for this, 15 codes were chosen and data collected for value and quantity for 1990-96.
IV Other Structured Information
Data come from databases and include: (a) share of forest products in total merchandise trade; (b) paid employment in forest products manufacturing; and (c) pulp and paper capacity 1970-95.
V Grey Literature Statistics
Statistics in this section cover all the topics of the Profile from social and economic to forest products but they come from country reports and other documents rather than from structured databases. The tables are not uniform.
Thematic and multi-country statistics
This part includes issues which are different from those in the structured sections - examples are forest investment, trees outside forests, forest service, etc.
Ad hoc statistics on sundry forestry topics are provided for the following countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
VI Production and Trade of Wood Based Forest Products
The data arc from the database of FAOSTAT. Standard Yearbook of Forest Products categories are used: roundwood, sawnwood, wood-based panels, pulp, paper and paperboard. These tables contain annual data on the production and trade (quantity and value) for 1972-97.
There are also tables in this Profile on production and trade in recovered paper (i.e. used paper and paperboard); and for fibreboard Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) and hardboard are separated from 1995. For 1970-94, however, the two are reported as combined "compressed fibreboard".
VII Consumption of wood based forest products
For greater convenience of users, apparent net consumption of wood based forest products has been calculated based on production and trade. This Apparent Net Consumption (ANC) is given as a total for all years but for 1997, also on a per caput basis - ANC data are presented only where both production and trade statistics are available for the commodity.
In this set of tables, many cases appear where the Apparent Net Consumption (ANC) is negative over several years, something that should be impossible. The fact that it occurs is evidence that either production or trade data or both are faulty. Very often, it is possible go get some kind of trade data but some countries do not provide data for production for prolonged periods.
Where this is the case, alternative estimates are invited, in particular for production. Although trade data are often available from trading partners arid can be estimated more easily than production improved, trade information from the countries themselves is also very welcome.