Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

End-use statistics


FOR the major raw materials, many countries are making a serious effort to assemble and keep up-to-date statistics on consumption by end uses. This work is conducted by government departments, trade associations or development associations, or often their efforts are combined. There is now widespread recognition that this type of information is vital to the determination of national policies on raw material and to public and private industrial development plans.

End-use statistics for forest products, however, are relatively undeveloped although comprehensive inquiries have been undertaken in a few countries, for instance Finland and the United States. Nevertheless, scattered data are available in most countries, for example, through the materials usage sections of periodic basic national industrial inquiries. A number of countries have also made periodic studies of the flow of roundwood categories and species to various wood-using industries.

For forest products, transformation statistics1 and end-use statistics2 can be grouped together as they complement each other, making it possible to establish what is, in effect, a flow chart of forest products from the felling stage to final consumers. Statistics outlined in such a flow chart will facilitate an assessment of the impact on forest product supply, especially in the medium and long-term, of changes which are taking place at the consumption stage, whether these changes arise from changes in wood consumption per unit of output (e.g., sawnwood consumed per dwelling unit) or from changes in the relative importance of different sectors of wood consumption (e.g., the increasing importance of the " manufacture of paper products " sector in relation to other sectors). Secular changes which are taking place at the consumption stage are reflected in the roundwood categories, and thus can be translated into long-term changes in industry's requirements from the forests. Thus statistics on end-use and transformation are of importance both to those concerned with the evolution of forest products markets and to those responsible for the formulation and implementation of forest policies.

1 Transformation statistics are concerned with the volumes that are taken into the manufacturing processes for further conversion. These statistics may be for roundwood, semiprocessed wood products and/or wood residues. They constitute the inputs, the apparent consumption or the apparent utilization of the wood processing industries.

2 End-use statistics relate to the last stage of utilization of forest products at which it is desirable and feasible to collect statistics.

To date, work has been concentrated on the collection of transformation statistics which measure the volume of economic activity in the forest products industries. In the case of such products as sleepers (sawn and hewn) and newsprint, transformation statistics are perhaps sufficient as each of these products have a limited major end-use. But end-use statistics take on a particular importance today, since the increase in the price of wood relative to certain of the materials that compete with it, is leading to economies in the use of wood as well as to its displacement by other materials.

Forest products flow chart

The flow chart shows in graphic form the most important end-uses as they are derived from the main groups of roundwood. It distinguishes five stages of the movement of products from the forests to consumers, namely:

1. fellings and removals (fellings less logging and transportation losses) from the forests and from trees outside the forest (shown on the left side of the chart);

2. transformation of the removals into the roundwood categories, i.e., into sawlogs, veneer logs and logs for sleepers; pulpwood (wood for defibration or pulping); pitprops; poles; other industrial wood; and fuelwood;

3. apparent utilization of the specific classes of roundwood by the primary processing industries, or, in other words, transformation by the forest products industries (namely sawmills, veneer and plywood mills, pulp and paper mills, fibreboard mills and particle board mills);

4. production of intermediate (veneers, woodpulp, etc.) and/or final products (plywood, paper and paperboard, fibreboard, particle board, etc.);

5. consumption in the various end-uses (construction, packaging, coal mines, etc.).

It should be noted that apparent consumption (production plus imports minus exports) can be determined from statistics outlined in the flow chart because allowance is made between each stage for trade in the various wood categories. The chart also includes wood residues which have been increasing in importance during the past decade, and distinguishes coniferous and nonconiferous wood in all categories. It is evident from the definitions that the end-use statistics do not necessarily refer to the true final stage of consumption (e.g., the volume of plywood used by packaging firms is an end-use statistic although the plywood is in many instances further fabricated into pallets, boxes, crates, etc.). In addition, the flow chart outlines (by means of the legend) the types of statistics to be collected at each stage by groups of products or consuming sectors, for example, comprehensive statistics, sample statistics or estimates, partly estimated, and whether statistics are to be collected from producing or utilizing industries. In order to complete the statistical picture, the flow chart recognizes nonwood fibres such as waste paper, bagasse, cotton, etc., which may be used by pulp and paper mills.



Classification table

To complement the information outlined in the flow chart, a special group of statistical experts called together by FAO and the United Nations' Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), has also approved a classification table of forest products end-use statistics. The classification table arranges in convenient form the main groups of consuming sectors (end-uses) and the main forest products utilized for each. The classification for the using industries follows the United Nations International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC).3 The major wood products (roundwood, processed wood, and pulp and paper) are listed and their utilization by consuming sectors is shown. The table also indicates the types of statistics that may be utilized in collecting the data (apparent consumption, deliveries, receipts, actual inputs, derived from output of the industry, and others including special surveys). As in the flow chart, it is evident that the end-use statistics outlined in the classification table are not necessarily at the final stage of consumption. This is borne out by examining, for example, printing and writing paper which is listed only as it is used by the consuming sectors: G. printing, publishing and allied industries; M. other industries; and N. households. These consuming sectors are in broad classes within which the actual end-use of the paper may be in the form of books, periodicals, stationery, etc.

3 International Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities. Statistical Office of the United Nations. Statistical Papers Series M. No. 4, 31 October 1949, New York.

Collecting statistics

As regards the techniques and problems involved in collecting forest products end-use statistics both in agriculture and in industry, there is great variation between countries both as to the needs and possibilities for collecting these data. It is considered that priority attention should be given to the collection of end-use statistics for the following:

1. Products utilized:

Sawnwood, fuelwood, plywood and veneers, block-board and particle board

2. Consuming sectors:

Agriculture, containers and joinery sections of the manufacture of wood products sector, furniture, transport equipment, other manufacturing, construction and household.

The products utilized and consuming sectors referred to here are those where end-use statistics are particularly inadequately developed at present but which in terms of volume of forest products or industrial development are of primary importance.

The problem of end-use statistics can be tackled in two main ways:

(a) by concentrating on the several forest products consumed in a particular end-use; or
(b) by concentrating on the specific end-uses (consuming sectors) to which a particular forest product is put.

However, the approach adopted in any particular instance will depend largely on the kind of data already available and the techniques which can be devised for collecting supplementary data. For practical purposes it is probably preferable to use approach (b) or a variation of this method, concentrating on a particular end-use to which a particular forest product is put. This approach is preferred because transformation and trade statistics for forest products are generally well developed and it is possible to determine apparent consumption for most products. Where statistics on stocks are available for the various forest products, consumption can be determined with greater accuracy. With information on consumption for a particular forest product, it is possible to begin investigations on its major end-use after which the picture may be completed in sequence, by investigating the other end-uses.

FAO is recommending that future programs for the collection of transformation and end-use statistics in its member countries should be guided by the nomenclature and classification shown in the classification table and flow chart accompanying this article. Adoption of this recommendation would lead to uniformity between countries based on accepted international classifications, and to comparability of statistics with the possibility for aggregation by regions and subregions.

In the field of techniques of collection, the expert group already referred to received information from Finland and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the collection of wood use statistics in the sector of agriculture. Both of these countries have had considerable experience in this difficult sector. In the manufacturing sector, information was received from 15 countries.4

4 Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Analysis of statistics

For most analytical purposes, it is probably sufficient to collect end-use statistics by the consuming sectors shown in the classification table and flow chart, although these statistics are not necessarily at the final stage of consumption. However for certain studies, for instance the FAO/ECE study, Trends in the Utilization of Wood and its Products in Housing5 and the Stanford Research Institute study, America's Demand for Wood 1929-1975,6 a further breakdown to the final stage of consumption may be desirable and feasible. Generally such information is not regularly compiled but is obtainable from special supplementary inquiries. For instance, in the two studies mentioned above, data are given on the amount of wood used in new residential construction but in addition volume data are provided on the amount of wood finally consumed in:

1. walls, which determine whether the structure is a wood or nonwood unit;
2. structural elements, including information on roofs, flooring and ceiling joists, etc.;
3. joinery elements, including information on windows and window frames, doom and door frames, flooring, etc.;
4. auxiliary timber, including scaffolding and form work.

5 Trends in the Utilization of Wood and Its Products in Housing. A study prepared jointly by the Secretariats of the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, 49 pp. Geneva, 1957.

6 America's Demand for Wood, 1929-1975. A report by the Stanford Research Institute to the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, 404 pp. Sunnyvale, California, June 1954.

The aim of the Stanford study was to estimate for a base year the consumption in the major consuming sectors of each of the major forest products in the United States and to project these estimates for future target years, at the same time estimating future roundwood requirements and explaining historical variations in production and consumption of these forest products. The FAO/ECE study had the more limited aim of assembling and reviewing such evidence as was available on trends in the utilization of only one forest product, sawnwood, in a particular consuming section, new residential construction, although reference was made to other forest products used for housing. In addition, both studies deal with competing nonwood materials.

To conduct a thorough study on the consumption of wood in any or all consuming sectors, as in the two studies above, it is necessary to consider all the various social, technological and economic factors which affect consumption of the product. For instance, the total volume of wood consumed in new residential construction depends on the number of dwelling units built and the amount of wood used per dwelling unit. But, in this regard, social factors, such as changes in population structure and its distribution, affect the number of dwelling units constructed. Moreover, over a period of time, the typical new dwelling unit may change in size (floor space and ceiling height) while the number of stories, style (architecture) and type (single-, two- and multi-family) of structures containing dwelling units may also undergo changes. An economic factor is the price of wood because wood must remain competitive in price with other building materials in order to avoid replacement or substitution. Technological factors, too, may affect substitution or, to be more exact, the decrease in the amount of wood used per unit of consumption. Timber savings may accrue owing to the more rational use of wood (i.e., a form of substitution), when sawnwood is replaced by other wood products and finally where wood is replaced by a nonwood material.

In order properly to assess in time the changes that take place, it is desirable to study changes in the four main components in which wood enters housing construction, i.e., walls, structural elements, joinery elements and auxiliary timber. The FAO/ECE and the Stanford studies estimated time changes in sawnwood consumption in residential construction and indicated changes due to social, technological and economic factors; and also estimated changes in the final end-uses in housing.

A revised list of categories

In a field that is quite similar to end-use statistics, a reminder list has been compiled on the classification of wood-use statistics by industry group and product category, designed to be of use to countries in their preparations for the 1963 world program of basic national industrial inquiries.

This world program stems from a resolution of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) which recommends that the governments of Member States compile basic data on industry (mining, manufacturing, construction, and the production of gas, electricity and steam) for 1963 or a year close to 1963, taking into account as far as possible the recommendations which have been made to improve the international comparability of the collected data.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page