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The last assessment of tropical forest plantation resources was carried out about a decade ago, by the FAO/UNEP Tropical Forest Resources Assessment Project. Significant changes have taken place since then as awareness of the need for planting trees worldwide has grown, many additional millions of hectares have been planted and financial support to plantation projects in developing countries has increased.

The present study by Mr. Devendra Pandey of the Indian Forest Service carried out at the Royal College of Forestry, Umeå, Sweden, under SIDA funding, improves and updates the earlier assessment, to the reference year 1990. Implemented within the framework of the FAO Forest Resources Assessment 1990 Project, the study provides the best available information on the plantation resource at present. Besides the estimates of 88 tropical countries, the report also contains information about the plantation resources of 6 non-tropical developing countries and 6 developed countries of the world.

The systematic review of national progress reports from the forestry sector submitted by countries from time to time formed the main basis for estimating reported plantation areas. Estimation of the ratio between reported and net planted areas has been done by objectively reviewing and analyzing the results of plantation inventories/survival rates. Besides visiting a number of organisations like the FAO, the World Bank, Oxford Forestry Institute (U.K.), CTFT/CIRAD-Forêt (France), a large number of experts/specialists were personally contacted. Several countries and private consulting companies have also contributed to the assessment efforts in many ways.

After describing the basic concepts and methodology, the study presents the global overview of plantation resources, consisting of cumulative total reported area, average annual rate of increase, areas under industrial/non-industrial and non-forestry plantations and under main species, estimated net areas to the end of 1990 and a discussion on community forestry tree planting. The actual yield of the main species established in large scale plantations has also been reviewed. In the next section, a detailed presentation of the above topics at regional, sub regional and country levels has been made. Time series data provides basic information at country level about plantation development in 88 tropical countries. Additional information for selected tropical, non-tropical developing and developed countries has been provided for comparison. Evaluation of plantations, discussed in the fourth section, deals with three aspects, (a) review and analysis of the available plantation inventory results and estimation of net plantation areas at both global and regional levels, (b) review of growth and yield data of large scale plantations and their comparison with permanent sample plot yield data and potential yields of the natural forests and (c) case studies on other issues related to planning and management of plantations. The report ends with the findings of the study and a set of recommendations.

If controlling tropical deforestation is the main forestry concern of the world, afforestation and reforestation seem to be the main global strategy. In order to implement the strategy effectively, it is essential to know the present state of the forest plantations resource and their current rate of establishment. It is also essential to understand the weakness, if any, in implementing and realising the full potential of plantations for sustainable development as recommended in the Programme Area D of chapter 11, UNCED Agenda 21.

It is hoped that the information presented and the conclusions drawn from the study will help national and international policy makers in formulating sound plantation strategies. It is also hoped that the study will stimulate countries and planting agencies to take an holistic view in planning plantation projects and also to pay adequate attention to research and management aspects.

Reidar PerssonDavid A. Harcharik
Senior Environmental and Forestry AdvisorAssistant Director-General
Swedish International Development AuthorityForestry Department


The study has been undertaken at the Department of Forest Survey, Faculty of Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, within the framework of the Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 1990 Project of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and financed by Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA). I gratefully acknowledge these institutions for providing me the opportunity to undertake this work.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Reidar Persson, Senior Environmental and Forestry Advisor, SIDA, under whose initiative and constant guidance this study has been completed. I am also grateful to Professor Gustaf von Segebaden, Prefect, for generously extending all facilities of the Institute and approving all travel programmes. Professor Bo Ranneby and Dr. Ulf Söderberg offered valuable comments in the analysis of the study, which is gratefully acknowledged.

It would not have been possible to complete this study without the full support of FAO in general and the FRA1990 Project in particular. Most of the documents used in the study have been made available from the Forestry Library and the 10th World Forestry Congress unit of FAO. My gratitude does not repay the assistance I have been rendered by Dr. K.D. Singh, Coordinator FRA 1990 Project. Regular discussions and fruitful comments offered by him resulted in refinement and finalisation of the study report. I am also grateful to Dr. M.K. Muthoo, Director, Forestry Operations and Dr. J.P. Lanly, Director, Forest Resources Division who have constantly encouraged me during the completion of the work. Mr. J.B. Ball, Senior Forestry Officer (Plantations) and Mr. Anders Hildeman, Associate Professional Officer, took keen interest in supporting me through the provision of documents, for which I am very thankful. I am also grateful to Mr. Klaus Janz, Senior Forestry Officer (Resources Appraisal and Monitoring) for offering valuable comments on the draft report and Ms. Pauline Simonetti, Secretary to FRA 1990 Project for editing and typing the final draft.

I am gratefully indebted to Professor Nils Erik Nilsson, Chief of Department, National Board of Forestry, Sweden, fruitful discussions with whom led to conceptual development of the study.

I sincerely thank Mr. R.D.H. Rowe, Forestry Advisor of the World Bank, who kindly assisted in reviewing the supervision reports of the World Bank aided plantation projects. I am also grateful to Mr. Alfredo Sfeir-Younis, Principal Evaluation Officer, Operations Evaluations Department for sending the Evaluation Reports of the plantation projects and authorizing their use.

Oxford Forestry Institute, U.K. and Centre Technique Forestier Tropical (CIRAD-Forêt), France very kindly extended their library facilities for searching documents, which is gratefully acknowledged.

In addition, I am thankful to a large number of delegates from different countries of the world who were kind enough to provide first hand information about plantation situation of their countries during 10th World Forestry Congress and several other government and non-government individuals of many countries who responded to my requests and furnished information.

I would like to record my gratitude to the Government of India and Andaman & Nicobar Administration for allowing me to undertake the advance study.

Finally, I would like to extend my appreciation to all the staff of the department of Forest Survey and in particular to Lars Fällman, Thorbjörn Cruse, Peter Lidström, Staffan Hörnberg and Eva Rovainen for helping me with the computer, and Anne-Maj Jonsson, Gunnilla Helgesson, Elisabeth Lissen, Kjell Lagerqvist and Anders Pålsson for their kind logistical assistance during my stay at Umeå .

Devendra Pandey
December 1994


AsDB=Asian Development Bank
AfDB=African Development Bank
CDB=Caribbean Development Bank
CTFT=Centre Technique Forestier Tropical (CIRAD-Forêt, France)
DANIDA=Danish International Development Agency
FAO=Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
FINNIDA=Finnish International Development Agency
IDB=Inter-American Development Bank
ITTO=International Tropical Timber Organisation
JICA=Japan International Cooperation Agency
NGO=Non Governmental Organisation
ODA=Overseas Development Administration (UK)
SIDA=Swedish International Development Authority
UNEP=United Nations Environment Programme
USAID=United States Agency for International Development

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