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1 Introduction

1.1 Terms and Definitions

Variations in definitions, however minor, increase the likelihood of divergent outcomes. Definitions are, therefore, the corner stone of any information and knowledge system. The definitions draw contextual and conceptual boundaries around various subsets of a data set as well as around the elements of the data set as a whole. The usefulness of a definition in any given context depends on its ability to prevent the rest (subset or elements) from intruding into the boundary. The description of the parameters of these boundaries constitutes the definition.

In a forest resources assessment, definitions draw boundaries around various sets or subsets of data on the extent, structure or characteristics, stocks, goods, services, management and use of forest resources. The context usually includes the environmental, ecological, landscape, administrative, silvicultural and legal frameworks in which forests reside.

The global forest resource assessment reports have always provided a set of definitions as the basis for their information content. The development of such a set of definitions is necessary for producing compatible information across countries and time and to facilitate harmonization of information with that provided to/by other international agencies and processes.

1.2 Purpose of this document

This Working Paper specifies the terms and definitions used for the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005. The use of the terms and definitions is essential for global monitoring across countries and for presenting FRA 2005 report which will include global tables and thematic assessments. This working paper should be regarded as an authoritative document on the terms and definitions for FRA 2005.

The paper is distributed as part of the communication process between the FAO, the UNECE secretariat and all National Correspondents. It can be used in meetings and training at all levels aiming to build national capacity for forest resources assessment and reporting in general, and to improve country reports to FRA 2005 in particular. The set of terms and definition for FRA 2005 can also be found on the official web page of FRA 2005 ( at the Forestry Department’s web site.

This Working Paper 83 forms part of the series of working papers released by the FRA Programme and which comprises the main reference documentation for the FRA 2005 reporting process.

The FRA 2005 documentation also includes: Specification of National Reporting Tables for FRA 2005 (WP 81) and the Guidelines for country reporting to FRA 2005 (WP 82).

For more details on FRA Programme, please follow these links: Homepage for FRA Kotka IV Expert consultation FRA Advisory Group FRA National Correspondents FRA Update 2005

1.3 Structure of the document

The first section contains the final version of the Terms and Definitions for the National Reporting Tables to FRA 2005. The draft version of these terms and definitions (Working Paper 73) was revised, based on inputs from the National Correspondents Training Session, held in Rome in November 2003, and the FRA Advisory Group.

These terms and definitions were first published on the web but, in response to requests from the FRA 2005 National Correspondents, it was decided to collate all the definitions and prepare a paper version of the final document.

The second section contains a compilation of additional terms and definitions related to the FRA process. Some were included in the FRA 2000 Main Report, others have gone through a less rigorous consultative process, they have only been included to aid the reporting for FRA 2005 and shouldn’t be considered as official FAO definitions.

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