Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

The work of FAO

Increased production of pulp and paper
FAO forestry mission for Chile
Subcommission on Mediterranean problems

Increased production of pulp and paper

The last session of the FAO Conference resolved to lend assistance to the United Nations in long-term efforts to overcome the shortage of newsprint and printing-paper in many parts of the world. Since that time the situation with regard to pulp and paper has eased considerably, but the basic fact remains that large areas of the world do not, and under present circumstances cannot, have adequate paper supplies. There is therefore an added argument in favor of a thorough examination of the long-term prospects for the production and consumption of these commodities.

FAO's broad action program is based on three assumptions: (a) that the fight against illiteracy and for freedom of information can be won only by a continuous and very substantial increase in the supply of newsprint and printing papers; (b) that expansion in production of newsprint and printing paper must go hand-in-hand with expansion in production of pulp and paper for all major uses; and (c) that the striking inequality between the pulp and paper consumption of 500 million people living in North America and Western Europe and of the rest of mankind will be difficult to overcome so long as pulp production remains concentrated in a few countries.

A program, however, can only be determined in the light of answers to the following questions:

1. At what rate can effective demand for pulp and paper in the various regions be expected to grow during the decade ahead?

2. To what extent will the expanded pulp and paper production of the traditional producing centers to meet the growing requirements of the deficient countries? This question must be answered with due regard to the foreign exchange facilities of these countries.

3. What is the present status of industrial techniques for the manufacture of pulp and paper from hardwoods, tropical woods, and other fibrous materials which constitute the bulk of raw materials available outside of Europe and North America? What processes should be employed? What products could be obtained and at what cost? Can the raw materials be supplied in adequate quantities under good forest management?

4. Where should new mills be located and what is the potential capacity for manufacturing pulp and paper, including newsprint, in each major region?

Any broad program undertaken before there are adequate replies to these questions could easily lead to unsound investment and serious failure. Governments and private corporations will, of course, go ahead without delay with a limited number of well-planned projects wherever conditions appear to be favorable, but a broad program of production should begin with a world-wide survey. Such a survey should have:

(1) a world survey of technical and economic possibilities for the expansion of pulp and paper production and the relationship to prospective needs for newsprint and other pulp products;

(2) drawing up specific plans for locating new mills, in a form suitable for consideration by financial institutions and private investors;

(3) negotiation and conclusion of the necessary financial and technical arrangements for the construction of new plants and to ensure the permanent supply of raw materials; and

(4) erection of new mills, including the initial phases of the operations which invariably meet with considerable difficulties, especially in countries which do not yet possess a pulp and paper industry and as a consequence do not have personnel familiar with these operations.

Wherever appropriate, FAO through its technical assistance program is ready to assist governments in all four phases. So far the efforts of the Organization have been concentrated on the first phase of the above program.

Appraisal of future demand

UNESCO has issued to its member countries a questionnaire, established in consultation with FAO, and is now collecting information about present and future requirements of newsprint and printing papers. A study on European timber trends, undertaken as a joint project by FAO and ECE, contains information on Europe's prospective requirements for pulp products up to 1960. Another study on Latin American pulp trends is under preparation as a joint project of FAO and ECLA.

Expansion of capacity in the traditional producing areas

An OEEC survey in its member countries, of investment programs in European pulp and paper industries is now supplemented by a more limited inquiry undertaken by the International Material Conference. Present and future pulpwood supplies and pulp production in Europe were discussed at the latest session of ECE's Timber Committee. Information has been obtained from government agencies and producers' associations in Canada, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Australia, New Zealand and a number of other industrialized countries to secure information about their known plans for increasing pulp and paper capacity.

Technical progress in pulping methods

FAO's Wood Chemistry Committee held a meeting last September in Appleton, Wisconsin, devoted to the pulping of tropical hardwoods and agricultural residues. Several well-known experts have been asked by FAO to co-operate with the organization in a technical meeting to be held toward the end of 1952. This will examine possible standard pulping tests for use in connection with the FAO project and to summarize present methods of manufacture of pulp and paper from raw materials available in the underdeveloped countries outside of Europe and North America.

Local exploration of conditions for the establishment of pulp and paper industries

Arrangements for the despatch of technical assistance missions for this purpose have been concluded with the following countries: Bolivia, Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Greece, Haiti, India, Iraq, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Turkey, Venezuela, Yugoslavia.

The following seven countries where FAO forestry missions are already at work have requested pulp and paper experts: Brazil, Chile, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan and Thailand.

Meanwhile authorities in the United Kingdom, France and Belgium are also studying the pulp and paper production possibilities in their dependent territories, especially in Africa.

From all the material obtained from these various sources, FAO expects to assemble information which will indicate (a) how much pulp and paper capacity could be developed during the coming decade; (b) where, at what cost, and under what conditions such a development could take place; (c) how the prospective production appears to compare with prospective requirements of the various regions. In this way priorities could be established which would facilitate the selection of the most suitable countries and sites, after evaluation of raw material availabilities and production costs.

A report summarizing the results of all these investigations will be presented to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in 1953.

FAO forestry mission for Chile

The FAO Forestry Mission to Chile, whose work is described in these pages has found considerable reserves of timber in the country.

Among the important timber species is the Chile pine, better known to many as the "monkey puzzle" (Araucaria araucaria), a virgin forest of which is seen in this photograph.

Perhaps the most important achievement of the FAO Forestry Mission to Chile in the first year of its assignment has been its contribution to revisions in forestry legislation. The Mission advised a committee set up by the Ministry of Lands and Colonization which has drafted a bill representing a real advance over existing legislation along the following lines:

provisions for safeguarding remaining national forest areas from destruction or unwise disposal; regulations for the protection and rational management of forest lands, including those privately owned where the national interest so requires, as in water-shed areas; creation of a more adequate Forest Service; provision for forestry education and research.

The main forest problems of Chile, as determined by the Mission, are protection of natural forests, protection of the soil against erosion, need for management of forests for sustained yield and necessity for the better organization of timber production. The Mission is undertaking detailed studies and proposals for action on the above problems in limited areas. These will serve to demonstrate the utility of corrective or remedial measures.

An important result of the Mission's activities has been the decision of the Government of Chile to establish a Forestry Faculty in the University of Chile. FAO has agreed to furnish three instructors for the initial period of this school.

A Demonstration Forest, for research and training, is also to be established, which will be a summer teaching area for the forestry students. It will also serve as a demonstration area for industrial operators interested in more modern methods. Modern methods of mechanical ex traction and an up-to-date sawmill for the processing of the timber derived from the area under a sustained-yield working plan, will be included. FAO is providing equipment not readily procurable in the country, and Chilean authorities are providing the necessary buildings and operating staff and assuming full maintenance responsibility.

Soil conservation, particularly in the northern arid region and in coast al areas affected by shifting sand dunes, presents a very important problem in Chile. FAO's Forestry and Agricultural Missions are working together to determine the extent of the erosion problem. A plan for control in an important sand dune area has already been presented.

As regards the organization of timber production, there already exists a definite pattern of forest economy in Chile. The Mission is not attempting to alter radically the structure of this economy but to introduce such improvements as are possible in existing methods of felling, logging and conversion. A general study is being made of present methods of exploitation and of existing forest industries in Valvidia province, in co-operation with the Corporación de Fomento, with a view to developing an integrated forest industry in the Province.

Subcommission on Mediterranean problems

This subsidiary body of FAO's European Commission on Forestry and Forest Products was created in 1948 to deal with specific forestry problems of the Mediterranean region and to investigate the problems of other areas having a similar "Mediterranean" climate. A third meeting of this Subcommission was held at Istanbul, Turkey, 13-15 May, under the chairmanship of Professor Pavari (Italy), with Professor Gonzalez-Vazquez (Spain) as vice-chairman. The meeting was preceded by a field trip arranged by the Director-General of Forests, Turkey, and the members of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Istanbul.

Besides representatives from the host country, delegates attended from Spain, France and the French Union, Greece, Israel, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia. After the Minister of Agriculture had welcomed the delegates and described the steps being taken in Turkey for the conservation and protection of the country's forests, Mr. Leloup, Director of FAO's Forestry Division, spoke of the many common problems facing countries of southern Europe and of the Middle East and North Africa. He thought that it might eventually prove possible to transform the Subcommission into an international Commission serving the interests of all the regions concerned. He particularly drew attention to the value of eucalypts as a means of solving some of the regional problems and mentioned the monograph on the genus which was being prepared by FAO, and the tour to Australia due to take place later in the year when eucalypts could be studied in their native environments. Metro, who is writing the eucalypt monograph for FAO, then expanded further on the possible role that various species and varieties could play.

The Subcommission expressed the hope that small national units could be established to review the experience with eucalypts, and to report on the results obtained with the various species, their adaptation to different environments, their biology, silvicultural treatment, growth, and utilization possibilities. The International Union of Forest Research Organizations was asked to undertake provenance tests with seed from acclimatized species and to study the genetics of eucalypts, and also the effect of various species on soil conditions.

Grazing and forestry

The secretary, Fontaine, gave the delegates a broad outline of the study on Grazing and Forestry which had been completed by FAO and was due shortly to be published, and the whole subject of the relation between these two often competing modes of land use was discussed.

Considering the extreme importance attaching to grazing within forest boundaries in many countries of the region, the Subcommission called for systematic efforts towards improvement of natural pastures and grasslands, and also a search for better breeds of animals which would give higher yields for a smaller head of stock. A wholly negative policy of forest closure and exclusion of grazing often defeated its own ends by the opposition aroused, leading to the malicious burning of forests. All the administrative government agencies must combine to find solutions suited to local conditions, and when requested, FAO should by technical advice and distributing the results of experience in member countries, offer guidance in this crucial matter.

Utilization of forest produce

Considerable discussion was devoted to the question of so-called "minor forest products" from the forests of the Mediterranean region. The report of the permanent working party on cork was approved and preparations for its next meeting were agreed.

FAO was asked to consider publishing a bulletin which, drawing on reports from member governments, would deal with production and trade in resins, acorns and other fruit such as edible chestnuts, barks, gums, leaves, and tanning materials.

Other activities

The Subcommission examined the ecological map of the Mediterranean area prepared in accordance with the accepted program of work, and agreed on certain modifications and improvements to be made. Note was taken of the detailed vegetation and ecological mapping now being undertaken in Portugal.

New Chief of U. S. Forest Service

The appointment of Richard E. McArdle as Chief of the Forest Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture has been announced. He succeeds Lyle F. Watts, who retires from active duty 30 June.

Prior to his appointment as Chief Forester, Mr. Watts' forestry career included service in four of the ten national forest regions, two of which he headed as U. S, regional forester. He also spent several years in re search and was the organizer and first head of the School of Forestry at Utah State Agricultural College.

Mr. Watts was chairman of FAO's Standing Advisory Committee on forestry, and took an active part in the organization and development of the forestry division of FAO. He was technical adviser to the U. S. delegate to general sessions of FAO in Quebec 1945, Copenhagen 1946, Washington, D.C. 1948 and 1949, and Rome 1951. He was also a U. S. delegate of the Inter-American Conference on the Conservation of Renewable Natural Resources at Denver in 1948, and the United Nations Scientific Conference on the Conservation and Utilization of Resources at Lake Success in 1949.

Mr. McArdle has since 1944 been Assistant Chief in charge of State and private forestry cooperation.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page