World Supply and De
In the next century, forestry issues are likely to change signifi-cantly as a result of changes in regional and global objectives for forests, forest environments, and production and consumption of timber-based products. Issues in the outlook for world forests include increasing scarcity of traditional raw material, with resulting substitution and technological change; changes in consumer tastes and preferences, including greater attention to the environmental consequences of production and consumption; and the incorporation of environmental considerations in economic and trade policies.
By Julie Lyke and David J. Brooks
Current Status of Forest Resources
Forests cover just over 4 ЫШоп hectares (10 billion acres) of the earth's surface, about 30 percent of the land area.
Half of the world's forests—and 80 percent of the world's population—are in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. These are generally developing countries, and their forests are predominantly tropical.
Between 1980 and 1990 the world forest area declined by 4 percent. Deforesta-tion—cumulated across all regions—has
occurred at rates estimated to be from 0.3
percent to 0.6 percent per year (11 million
to 20 million ha per year) in the past two
decades, while population has grown at a
rate of more than 1.5 percent per year. A
gain of about 20 million hectares in the
area of temperate forest over the period
1980-90 was more than offset by a reduction of about 170 million hectares in the
area of tropical forest (fi*. /' Half of the total loss was in Latin America, and most of that in Brazil. Rapid forest loss also occurred in parts of Mexico. Central Amer-ica, West Africa, and continental South-east Asia (FAO 1992b). Comparison of current estimates (FAO 1992b) and previous estimates of tropical deforestation indicates that there has been a substantial increase in the rate of deforestation in nearly all tropical zones.
Patterns and Trends in Forest Use
Patterns of world timber production are shown in figure 2. These data clearly show the relationship"bcrwcen economic development, forest type, and pattern of forest use. Developed countries located in the temperate zone with a significant area of coniferous forests harvest primarily coniferous species (70% of total harvest) and use nearly all of the timber harvested
Developing countries export semiprocessed products such as sawn wood (far left) but are net importers of timber. Such world timber supply issues have focused attention on Hie environmental consequences of production and consumption.
lor industrial purposes (83%). Developing countries, located tor the most part in the tropicjl zone, harvest nonconiferous species iKO",. ol total harvest) and use this timber Primarily for fuel (80%) (FAO 1992a). '.
The том dramatic comparison of gjobalpaturns is in per capita consumption. Developed countries consume timber at a per capita rate nearly three times that of developing countries. And the ^United State* consumes timber at a rate nearly double the developed country average 4~». * Although developed countries as a group produce more timber than they consume, the United States and Japan arc notable exceptions. Japan depends on imports for more than 341 percent of its forest products: the I'niinl Slates relies on imports tor more than 3(1 percent of softwood lumber, and for about 15 percent of paper and board products. At the same time, however, the I'nitcd States is also an exporter of both softwood and hardwood lumber and paper and board products.
The world > largest forest products trade Hows art among developed countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Exports from boreal countries i Canada, the Nordic countries, and Russia to temperate zone countries f the L'niicd States. Japan, and Europci dominate world forest products trade. Developing countries as a whole arcnet importers of timber: net exports of logs and semiprocessed products (such as sawn wood) are more than offset by im- •ports of pulp and paper products. How-ever, rrop/Wdeveloping countries-^-with a relatively greater endowment of forests— ■ are net exporters of timber products.
Temperate and tropical forests are the source of a variety of products other than timber, including animals, plants, nuts, and fruits used for both subsistence and exchange. Some of these products enter regional, national, or even дг^^e^n^rлpлal_^ jn^adcjtSy However, many products are consumed locally. As a result, information on the value or even the quantity of nontimber forest products consumed is limited. The importance of such noutimber forest products can be illustrated by examples from temperate and tropical regions.
Floral greensJiarvcsted from the forests ot the coastal Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada were valued at nearly $130 million in 1989; harvesting and processing employed 10,000 persons in seasonal and permanent positions (Schlosser et al. 1991). Commercial and recreational harvest of edible wild mushrooms in the same region is also valued in the millions of dollars. Although small in comparison to the industrial forest economy of the region, these nontimber products»occupy important social and economic niches.
Nontimber forest products also make significant contributions to economic activity, including export trade, in a number of developing countries. The value ofjn-^. ternational trade in nontimber forest products from Southeast Asia is estimated to be in the billions of dollars (DeBeer and McDermott 1989). Nontimber forest products account for about 6 percent of all forest products exports from Indonesia, including timber. Taking into account the fact that the majority of nontimber products are not traded and do not enter markets, the social and economic value ol these commodities is likely to be considerable.
Environmental services from forests include watershed services (slope stability and water yield regulation), climate regulation, and others. Forests play a critical role in environmental processes such as the hydrologic and climate cycles, protecting soil from erosion, maintaining a reservoir of plant and animal genetic material, and absorbing and buffering pollution discharges. Attention paid to the importance of forests in such processes has grown in the past few decades as regional and global systems have been wejsccL.
Forests also serve^a-Iong-rerm role in supporting or providing leisure and recreation values. The value of forest recreation services (ecotourism), among other natural assets, is receiving increased attention in the management of tropical as well as temperate forests. In the late 1980s, tourism was the second largest industry in the
world, and as much as half of world tourism is now nature-based (Whelan 1991).'Tourism is estimated to have accounted for more than $55 billion in revenue for developing countries (Whelan 1991); even if only a portion of this is attributable to nature-based tourism, this is
significantly greater than revenues from export of industrial timber products.
However, the type of employment, distri-bution of income, and patterns of social effects associated with ecotourism differ significantly from those associated with timber-based forest industries. As is the case with nontimber commodities, users and beneficiaries of tourism and other' forest services differ from those of timberbased commodities.
Based on current patterns of world forest resources and resource use, the following trends exist:
Rapid population growth will continue to
drive demandfor wood. Population has historically been a principal driver of wood
consumption, and it is unlikely that this
close relationship will change. Up to the
year 2010, global demand for timber is
forecast to increase from 3.4 billion cubic
meters to 5.1 billion cubic meters (FAO
1995)—an average annual increase of 86 million cubic meters per year. Therefore, continued, rapid population growth can /be expected to increase pressures on global forests over the next few decades. World population increased from 2.5 billion in 1950 to 5.5 billion today. The developing world, whose 4.3 billion people account for more than 75 percent of the global population, now accounts for about 95 percent of the annual population increase.
Growth is particularly rapid in Asia, which already accounts for 65 percent of the world population.
Economic growth and development will further increase consumption. Rates of economic growth are relatively rapid in less developed nations where per capita incomes rose 2.7 percent a year between 1950 and 1990— the highest sustained rate of increase in history (World Bank 1992). The pace of economic growth differs greatly among regions, however. In the past two decades, most Asian countries have grown much more rapidly than other developing nations.
Substantial regional differences in income will persist, although the gap between income levels in developing and industrial countries will narrow. Increasing income will increase demand for industrial wood products—especially paper products—and will reduce the demand for fuelwood. It is possible that economic growth in developing countries may result in a reduction in total demand for wood—with development, the demand for fuelwood may decline faster rhan the demand for industrial round-Wood increases. "
Developing country demandfor timber
will grow most rapidly. Growth in con- ■ sumption in developing countries will exceed that in developed countries due to a combination of high growth.rates in population and income (Barbier et al. 1991).
In many cases, projected economic growth rates for developing countries are more than double those of developed countries.
As a result, over the next two decades developing countries are-likely to be the fastest growing markets for timber and timber products.
Urbanization will contribute to growth
and change in the composition of world timber demand The world's population is urbanizing much faster than it is growing.
By the year 2005, half of die worlds people will live in urban areas; by the year 2025, that number will be about twothirds (WRI 1994). In nearly every country, per capita consumption of goods and services is higher in urban areas than in rural communities. Rapidly growing urban populations in developing countries intensify pressures on the infrastructure and the resource base (including forests) of these countries. Successful urbanization
and associated income growth should ease the pressure caused by encroachment on natural habitats—largely driven by the need for food and income—but it also will increase pressures resulting from market demand for food, water, and forest products.
Urbanization also will contribute to a greater emphasis on industrial products and environmental services. Greater interest in and demand for environmental services from forests will affect the determi-nation of socially and environmentally acceptable production methods.
Growing fossil fuel consumption will aggravate climate change but fail to relieve demand for fuelwood Fuelwood typically makes up 60 to 95 percent of total energy use in developing countries, 25 to 60 percent in middle-income countries, and less than 5 percent in high-income countries (Leach and Mearns 1988). Since 1950. use of fossil fuels has more than quadrupled, with a substantial pan of the increase occurring in less developed countries. Con-tinued, significant increases in fossil fuel-related carbon dioxide emissions greatly increase the likelihood of climate change. Yet wood is still the primary energy source for the majority of the global population/accounting for more than half of world timber harvest and as much as 90 percent of timber production in developing countries. Even in nations where per capita consumption of traditional fuels is declining and the transition to modern fuels is well underway, pressure to use forests and fragile landscapes to satisfy energy needs continues.
Developed country demands for nontimber commodities and noncommodity services
of forests will increase. In general, increasing wealth shifts demands on forests toward environmental and amenity values. Atten-tion paid to the importance of forests in environmental processes has grown in recent decades, especially among relatively affluent countries in the Northern Hemi-sphere. One result is that commodity and noncommodity claims on forests increasingly come into competition Regional and global ecological functions and environmental services from forests that are in growing demand include migratory bird
habitat, biological diversity, and carbon sequestration. Users and beneficiaries of these environmental services often differ from those of commodity outputs. This increases the complexity of management decisions, especially when costs and benefits arc distributed across political boundaries (Brooks 1993).
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Tropical timber will decrease in importance in the overall trade picture. Temperate countries will consume greater quantities of temperate resources to meet domestic demand, and domestic consumption in tropical producer countries will continue to grow due to population and income growth. Already, many tropical timber producers are net timber importers. In ad- .dition, the level of trade among develop- . ing countries is expected to expand over the next few years, as it has in recent decades. This increase will somewhat counteract the declining importance of tropical timber in developed-country markets, but rapid loss of developed-country markets for tropical timber products will have significant economic effects on tropical timber producers.
Nontariffyarriers will increase relative to
traditional trade restrictions. The recent 'completion of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations and the creation of large regional trading blocs, such as the Eu-ropean Union (EU) and the North Ameri-can Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), have added momentum to efforts to reduce trade restrictions across a wide range of products and services, including forest products. However, decreasing tariffs have been replaced by a growing number of nontariff barriers, which act to maintain protection for domestic industries. A recent partial inventory (Laarman and Scdjo 1992) shows that nontariff barriers to international trade in forest products areex- ' tensive. Examples of barriers inciudcKxport controls on volumes and prices; import quotas and other quantitative import controls; increasing use of official complaints against export subsidies (dumping); use of "invisible" means to subsidize exports (such as low-interest loans, tax benefits, and government financing of export promotion); use of product standards, import licensing, inspection procedures, and technical and sanitary regulationsMnd boycotts and "voluntary certification programs. Such non- "la'riff Barriers increasingly restrict freer trade, adding complexity and costs to the international movement of forest products.
kcts, particularly in construction and fur- • niture industries, estimating the magnitude of this response is difficult, r^istori-logical change. This includes a scarcity of cajly. a number of materials have been preferred species (especially hardwoods) used to displace wood and paper. Exam-and large, high-grade logs (especially soft- pics include aluminum in windows and
doors; steel in construction; plastic in packaging and containers; and petroleum-based, synthetic fibers in a variety of applications. In each case the rate of product substitution has been governed by new technical processes and changing cost relationships.Vproduct standards,,and con-, sumer preferences. In some cases, forest industries may struggle to retain traditional markers.
Figure 3. World consumption of timber, 1990:percapita basis, mdudingfuelwood Source: FAO 1992a; WRI1994.
performance continue to be critical determinants of product success in the marketplace, consumer tastes and preferences are also important and continually changing.
Some surveys of consumers' willingness to pay for sustainably produced timber products—especially from tropical timber—find that consumers say they would pay significantly more for such products.
Indeed, some consumers—mainly in Eu-rope and the United States—have expressed an unwillingness to purchase products containing tropical timber due to the perceived effect of its harvest on tropical forests.
Many manufacturers, however, do not appear to believe that their customers would be willing to pay as large a pre- .mium as survey results suggest. Moreover, the scope for a price premium may exist only in markets lor higher quality products, such as joinery and furniture. In markets such as building and construction where tropical timber products compete largely on price with temperate timber or nontimber substitutes, there may be less room for a price premium on sustainably produced tropical timber (Bar-bier et al. 1993).
Nevertheless, these market trends may presage the development of new standards for evaluating natural resource management, production, and trade. For example, the United States and a number of other nations have pledged to manage their forests sustainably by the year 2000. In support of this objective, several regional multinational efforts are under way to negotiate criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. At the same time, many nongovernmental organizations and some entrepreneurs have set about to "certify" timber products that originate from sustainably managed forests (see April 1995 Journal). These efforts are driven by the need to define sustainable forest management, and they reflect both an effort to respond to consumer demands and ro shape consumer perceptions.
Trend toward harmonization of economic and environmental policies. Global environmental and economic interdependence create a need for harmonization of standards and practices.. In particular, the need for consistent environmental, industrial, and trade policies is increasingly clear.
Environmental issues have figured prominently in international trade negoti-ations in recent years. The first arricle of the recently renegotiated International Tropical Timber Agreement makes the attainment of sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests one of its central objectives. In addition, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the European Unions Maastricht Treaty recognize the pursuit of sustainable development and strengthened environmental policies as key goals of these agreements, on a par with expanding trade.
This attention to environmental issues has not been matched by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), however, and GATT may limit national jx>licics designed to meet broad environ-mental goals. For example, it does not allow countries to ban or restrict imports on the basis of production (or harvesting) methods; as a result, under GATT, countries could not discriminate against forest products originating from forests determined to be unsustainably managed. En-vironmentally related export controls, subsidies, and countervailing duties on imports can also be challenged as violations of free trade rules under GATT. Although the objectives of the Uruguay Round included reducing "nontariff barriers to trade" such as uneven product standards, it is now widely recognized that some environmental reform of GATT is needed. A , "Green Round" of negotiations would address a number of these issues, and the outcome of such a process could begin to reconcile world production and consumption of timber with increasing and changing world demands on forests.
In the absence of significant changes in policies and social practices, demands on forests and other resources will increase for the foreseeable future, simply as a consequence of population growth and economic growth. The composition of these increasing demands also will change. In general, as the worlds population becomes increasingly urban and wealthy, demands on- forests can be expected to shift toward industrial products and environmental services. But more than half of the world's population still lives in rural conditions. More importantly, roughly 80 percent of the world's population is relatively poor and relies on forests for basic sustenance. The time horizon over which sustainability is defined is short under such circum-stances. For most of the world's population, the answer to the most pressing question of contemporary forest management—sustaining what, for whom?—is dominated by concern for the tangible necessities of life. fSH
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Julie Lyke is international forest policy analyst, USDA Forest Service. PO Box 96538.
Washington. DC 20090-6538: David J.
Brooks is research forester. Pacific Ntirllmnl Research Station. Corvallis. OR.