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Reference to regions and subregions correspond to the country groups indicated in Tables 1 and 2 of Annex 3. These in turn use the definitions of the FAOSTAT country groups list of FAO.

Developed countries

Includes all industrialized countries and countries in transition.

Industrialized countries

Includes all countries in Europe except Eastern Europe (see country listing in Table 2 of Annex 3) plus Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

Countries in transition

Includes all countries in Eastern Europe (see country listing in Table 2 of Annex 3) and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Developing countries

Includes all countries other than developed countries.

Tropical countries

As indicated in Table 2 of Annex 3.

Temperate/non-tropical countries

As indicated in Table 2 of Annex 3.


These definitions have been adopted for use in FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA). They apply to FRA 1990 and the 1995 set of forest cover data provided in Tables 2 and 3 of

Annex 3. Some terms have two definitions, one when used in conjunction with developing countries and another when applied to developed countries, because of the different data collection methods used by the two organizations involved: FAO (for developing countries) and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Trade Division Timber Section (for developed countries). FRA 2000 is using a common set of definitions, some of which differ slightly from those given below. The new set of definitions is available in the document UN-ECE/FAO Temperate and Boreal Forest Resources Assessment 2000: terms and definitions (UN, 1997b).


The establishment of a tree crop on an area from which it has always or very long been absent. Where such establishment fails and is repeated, the latter may properly be termed reafforestation.


Establishment of a tree crop on forest land.



Includes natural forest and forest plantations. Land with tree crown cover (stand density) of more than about 20 percent of the area; continuous forest with trees usually growing to more than about 7 m in height and able to produce wood. This includes both closed forest formations where trees of various storeys and undergrowth cover a high proportion of the ground, and open forest formations with a continuous grass layer in which tree synusia cover at least 10 percent of the ground.


Change of forest with depletion of tree crown cover to less than 20 percent.

Other wooded land

Land which has some forestry characteristics but is not forest as defined above. It includes open woodland and scrub, shrub and brushland (see below), whether or not used for pasture or range. It excludes land occupied by "trees outside the forest".

Open woodland

Land with tree crown cover (stand density of about 5 to 20 percent of the area).

Scrub, shrub and brushland

Land with scrub, shrub or stunted trees, where the main woody elements are shrubs (usually more than 50 cm and less than 7 m in height), covering more than about 20 percent of the area, not primarily used for agricultural or other non-forestry purposes, such as grazing of domestic animals.

Exploitable forest

Forest and other wooded land on which there are no legal, economic or technical restrictions on wood production. It includes areas where, although there are no such restrictions, harvesting is not currently taking place, for example, areas included in long-term utilization plans or intentions.



Ecosystem with a minimum of 10 percent crown cover of trees and/or bamboos, generally associated with wild flora and fauna and natural soil conditions, and not subject to agricultural practices. The term forest is further subdivided, according to its origin, into two categories:


Change of forest with depletion of tree crown cover to less than 10 percent. (Changes within the forest class, e.g. from closed to open forest, which negatively affect the stand or site and, in particular, lower the production capacity, are termed forest degradation and are considered apart from deforestation.)

Other wooded land

Includes the following:


These definitions are an abbreviated form of those used by the FAO Yearbook of Forest Products. See a recent volume of that publication for full details (e.g. FAO, 1998g).


Wood in its natural state as removed from forests and from trees outside the forest; wood in the rough. Commodities include all forms of industrial roundwood and fuelwood.

Fuelwood and charcoal

Includes "wood in the rough" (from trunks and branches of trees) to be used as fuel such as cooking, heating or power production. Wood for charcoal is included.


An aggregate term including fuelwood, charcoal and black liquor.

Black liquor

The alkaline-spent liquor obtained from the digesters in the production of sulphate or soda pulp during the process of paper production.

Industrial roundwood

The commodities included are sawlogs or veneer logs, pulpwood and other industrial roundwood. In the case of trade, chips and particles and wood residues are also included.


Wood (including sleepers) sawn lengthwise or produced by a profile-chipping process, and planed wood.

Wood-based panels

An aggregate term including the following commodities: veneer sheets, plywood, particle board and fibreboard. Particleboard includes varieties such as oriented strand board and flakeboard. Fibreboard includes hardboard, medium-density fibreboard and insulation fibreboard.

Pulp for paper

Includes both wood pulp (mechanical, semi-chemical and chemical) and other fibre pulp (straw, bamboo and bagasse, etc.).

Recovered paper

Used paper and paperboard or residues from paper conversion, collected for reuse as a raw material for the manufacture of paper, paperboard or other products.

Paper and paperboard

The following commodities are included in this aggregate: newsprint, printing and writing paper, other paper and paperboard.


Coniferous species (softwoods)

All woods derived from trees classified botanically as Gymnospermae. These are generally referred to as softwoods.

Non-coniferous species (hardwoods)

All woods derived from trees classified botanically as Angiospermae. These are generally referred to as broadleaved or hardwoods.


FAO has no formally adopted definitions for the following terms. These definitions are provided to clarify their meaning in the context of the State of the World's Forests 1999.

Civil society

Non-State organizations and movements, including citizen groups, NGOs, citizens' organizations (formal and informal), mass media, business leaders, the research community and social and political movements.


The existence within any society of a variety of groups with different, autonomous and sometimes conflicting interests, values and perspectives. These differing views cannot be reduced to a common perspective by the reference to an absolute standard.


An individual, social group or institution that possesses a direct, significant and specific interest in a resource or a service.

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