One of the great problems of international forestry has been ascertaining the world's forest resources. This was one of the most urgent tasks allotted the Forestry and Forest Products Division of FAO by the First Session of the FAO Conference held at Quebec in 1945. Less than a year later, the Division published an interim report entitled Forestry and Forest Products - World Situation 1937-1946, which summarized all existing data on this subject.
This was only the first step. If work in this field is to be useful, it must be based on authentic reports by governments, and it must be continuous in order to follow an ever-changing picture
A forest inventory questionnaire was therefore sent out to all governments in the summer of 1947 in order to obtain new and up-to-date information. The establishment of this questionnaire was difficult because the questions had to be applicable to all parts of the world and to a very wide variety of forestry and administrative conditions. The answers to this first questionnaire have now been assembled and are reproduced in this issue as a report on the forest resources of the world. It is as up to date and accurate as generous and painstaking government co-operation could make it. It is unique in that it presents data a few months after receipt; usually, several years elapse before the data collected can be put into book form or published as statistical compendia.
The making of forest inventories presents a number of problems, especially in countries with large undeveloped forest areas. A new tool coming into wide favor for carrying out inventories of forest resources is aerial photography. An article by Stephen H. Spurr, Assistant Professor, Harvard Forest, Harvard University, on methods and possibilities is therefore included in this issue.
UNASYLVA, a journal of forestry and forest products, is prepared by the Division of Forestry and Forest Products and published bimonthly by the Information Service of FAO at the Organization's temporary headquarters in Washington, D. C. It is printed in Baltimore, Maryland, U. S. A. UNASYLVA is now published in English, French, and Spanish. Copies may be obtained from the following sales agents: Australia: H. A. Goddard Pty., Sydney; Canada: The Ryerson Press, Toronto 2; Czechoslovakia: F. Topic, Prague 1; Denmark: Ejnar Munksgaard, Copenhagen; Finland: Akateeminen Kirjakauppa, Helsinki; France: Les Editions A. Pedone, Paris 5e; Latin America: International Documents Service, Colombia University Press, New York 27; Netherlands: N. V. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague; Switzerland: Librairie Payot, S.A., Lausanne, and Hans Raunhardt, Zurich 1; United Kingdom: U. M. Stationery Office, London W.1; United States of America: International Documents Service, Columbia University Press, New fork 27, and United Nations Bookstores, Lake Success, New York. Requests from countries where sales agents have not yet been appointed may be sent to: FAO Documents Sales Service, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Washington 6, D. C. U.S.A. Annual subscriptions, $3.50; single copy, 65 cents.