FRA 2000 aimed to expand the scope of global forest assessments to include new parameters in order to shed light on environmental and social services of forests in addition to traditional measures of forest cover and timber volume. Progress was made in the assessment of a number of parameters, such as biomass, availability for wood production and non-wood forest products; but it was not possible to meet all of the demands. Among the most important areas for potential improvement for future assessments are the following.
- Further emphasis should be placed on capacity building to improve national forest assessments. The best way to improve global assessments is to improve national assessments.
- Collaboration with key partners should be increased to make a better use of scarce resources.
- Country participation and the role of the FAO Regional Forestry Commissions should be increased in planning and implementing all phases of future assessments, from data collection through analysis.
- FAO will seek to continue to identify new parameters whose assessment may contribute to sustainable forest management and to develop practical ways for assessing them.
- FAO should work towards reducing the interval between successive assessments, or towards establishing rolling regional assessments.
- Continued improvement is needed in developing standardized definitions and categories for collecting information, which will help to broaden the capacity of forest resources assessment to respond to various needs and uses.
- Continued work is needed to improve methodologies and techniques for data collection and analysis, particularly for systematic field observations of broad sets of forest parameters complemented by remote sensing technology. Only through first-hand and representative observations can a solid basis for forest policy processes be established.
- An expert consultation in March 2000 recommended the establishment of a standing global team of experts who will serve in an advisory capacity on key policy and process issues related to global assessments.
For the future, any individual, organization or country that develops more reliable or current information is encouraged to contribute it as soon as it is available so that it can be used to strengthen the next global assessment.