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Forest futures. Sustainable pathways for forests, landscapes and people in the Asia-Pacific region. Asia-Pacific Forest Sector Outlook Study III

The demand of society on forests has continuously changed. Initially, forests were mainly seen as resources for timber. Overtime, the role of forests has expanded as our society expects various economic, social and environmental products and services from the forests. Forests now are seen as a component of broader landscapes. The interconnectedness of forests to other sectors has become much more understood. Also, there is a better appreciation of the environmental and cultural role of forests. Looking into the future, it is very important for governments, organizations, private sector and other stakeholders to understand the roles of forests and forestry in the next decades. This will help them in designing their interventions, investments and strategic planning.

In the past, in collaboration with governments and partners, FAO has undertaken regional and global outlook studies to assess how the future is likely to unfold and to identify challenges and opportunities that are likely to emerge. FAO completed the first Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study (APFSOS I) in 1998 and APFSOS II in 2010. Governments appreciated the results of the studies as they used them for strategic planning at national and sub-national levels. Policy dialogues involving key stakeholders such as private sector, international organizations, donors, youth, etc. on issues such as investment, partnership and priorities in the forestry sector were also informed by the results of these studies. Additionally, various organizations have used the studies for research and capacity building. 

While the broad trends outlined in APFSOS II are still valid, there is a need to discuss and provide an overview of the probable paths of forestry development to the year 2030 and beyond. APFSOS III will consider the implications of new international frameworks and agreements, new technologies, the role of youth in the future, the changing pace of globalization, the importance of environmental services and conservation, etc. All of these factors could possibly take forestry along a trajectory different from what was visualized earlier.

Asia & Pacific