1. Introduction

National Forest Assessments (NFAs) provide data for analyses of sustainable forestry and land use within a country, which are used as a basis for policies and strategies on management and conservation of the natural resources. NFAs also generate data for reporting in accordance with national and international agreements and conventions like FAO¿s Forest Resource Assessments and the United Nation¿s Framework Convention on Climate Change. In addition, NFAs often provide valuable data for research on issues related to sustainable forestry.

The success of an NFA in a country depends on many factors. Naturally, an important basic requirement is that the stakeholders within a country perceives a need for data about forests and other resources in order to analyze different options regarding adequate land use or preservation of nature (Janz & Persson, 2002). Other crucial factors are how the NFA organization is set up and how it implements the NFA. For example, it is important to establish links between the NFA organization and the users of information already during the planning stage of an NFA and it is also crucial to develop and maintain the correct mix of competences for implementing the NFA.

The objective of this paper is to describe and discuss different options for setting up the organization of an NFA, and to point at key issues for implementing the activities. Since the literature available within this subject field is relatively sparse, in many cases the presentation is based on our own experiences and on discussions with colleagues in other countries.