Information note 8, 18 June 2004

Dear Colleagues,

Many thanks for the congratulatory messages which came in after I took over from Peter Holmgren as head of the Global Forest Resources Assessment. I look very much forward to working closely with all of you to produce the FRA 2005 Report. As you can imagine, I have been extremely busy over the last few weeks trying to catch up with the FRA 2005 process and the many activities undertaken by the FRA team and their colleagues in the regional and sub-regional offices.

This Information Note, which is slightly longer than usual, aims to provide you with information on a series of planned Thematic Reports for FRA 2005 and a short update on some of the main activities related to the preparation of the country reports.

FRA 2005 Thematic Studies

As part of FRA 2005, we plan to prepare a number of Thematic Studies for selected subjects to complement the main report on global statistics and the analyses derived from country reports. These Thematic Studies have been selected to cover topics for which information is already collected by FAO using our existing networks of specialists (e.g. planted forests), topics which may only be relevant to some countries (e.g. mangroves), where quantitative information is notoriously difficult to obtain (fires and pests), or where this is an emerging topic and the study acts as a testing of additional variables for possible inclusion in FRA 2010 (e.g. forests and water and ownership of forests and trees).

Since we do not wish to add to your reporting burden, you will generally not be asked to contribute specific information to these Thematic Studies, which will only cover selected countries. However we will keep you informed about progress and results, may ask some of you to help us identify national experts - where we do not have any other means of identifying these - and, in some cases, we will ask you to comment on/validate the country information presented in these Thematic Studies - particularly when this is related to one of the global tables. A tentative list of the Thematic Studies proposed is attached below along with the main focal points in case you wish to volunteer information for one or more of these. I will remain the focal point for all information sent to/requested from you related to these Thematic Studies, so as to strictly monitor this and keep it to an absolute minimum, as we value your time very highly.

Tentative list of Thematic Studies and FAO focal points:
Planted forests
Forest fires and forest fire
Extent of
Ownership of forests and
Forests and

Country Reports for FRA 2005

  1. Reporting Units. FRA 2005 will report on 223 "countries and areas" based on the reporting units used by the UN Statistics Division, but with a few modifications. I will contact those of you from countries with dependent territories in the near future to make sure we cover all the "areas" and do not double-count any of these.

  2. Reporting Guidelines and other documentation. You should all have received the following 3 documents by now: Specification of National Reporting Tables for FRA 2005 (Working Paper 81); Guidelines for Country Reporting (Working Paper 82) and a Country Report Template (no number). These are available in English, French and Spanish. In addition, the two first documents have been translated into Russian and sent out to Russian speaking correspondents and they are currently being translated into Arabic and will be distributed shortly. Electronic versions of all the documents can be found at:

  3. Regional and Sub-regional Workshops. We have recently concluded two workshops in Japan and Lebanon for those countries in East Asia and the Near East respectively who were unable to attend the meeting held in Rome in November last year. In addition, we are currently planning a series of eight regional and sub-regional workshops to facilitate the discussion and review of draft national reports. The first two for Anglophone and Francophone Africa will be held in Senegal and Ghana respectively at the end of July and participants should already have received the invitation and necessary background information. We will contact you with details on the remaining workshops in due course.

  4. Frequently Asked Questions. Based on queries received and the outcome of two training sessions in Japan and Lebanon, we're developing a set of Frequently Asked Questions which we will post on the web-site. Those of you wishing to add some questions, please send these to me and we'll include them along with the answers within the next week or so. It will, of course, be possible to post additional questions as and when you come across potential problems.
If you have any questions to any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best regards

Mette Wilkie

Mette Løyche Wilkie
Senior Forestry Officer
Global Forest Resources Assessment
Forest Resources Division, FAO Forestry Department
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome 00100, Italy
Tel: +3906-5705-2091
Fax: +3906-5705-5137
last updated:  Monday, February 6, 2006