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The Eighth Session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) held in Rome, 21-25 April 1986, recommended the "strengthening of FAO's programme of collection, evaluation and dissemination of information related to forest resources and resource development" and the "updating of information on tropical deforestation in order to provide reliable baseline data" (paragraph 45). These recommendations were endorsed by the FAO Council at its Nineteenth Session in Rome, November 1986.

The preparations for the 1990 assessment were undertaken by the FAO Forestry Department in 1987. The FAO/ECE/FINNIDA "Ad Hoc Meeting on World Forest Resources Assessment" was held in Kotka, Finland, in October 1987. Forty experts took part in the meeting: 20 from developing countries, and 20 from developed countries, representing a broad cross-section of expertise. Four major areas for appropriate assessment were identified by the Kotka meeting including the need for:

i) an estimation of the current state of forest cover and its rates of change;

ii) an estimation of world forest volume and biomass;

iii) up-to-date information on forest management techniques, harvesting, forest plantations, etc.; and

iv) a study of the environmental impacts and service functions of forests.

The assessment was organized at national, regional and global levels, as shown in Figure 2. FAO/ECE Geneva was responsible for collecting and compiling the data relating to the developed countries. FAO, Rome, was responsible for coordinating and conducting the assessment in the developing countries, and for preparing a global synthesis of the two assessments.

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