Certified forests covers about 11% of global forests in 2015. The 56-member country Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) accounts for about 40% (1.6 billion hectares) of the global forest estate and in total makes up 87% of the total global certified forest area.
Of the global certified forest area, 48% is in North America, 25% in Western Europe, and 14% is in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), according to the UNECE/FAO Forest Products Annual Market Review 2015-2016 released today.
Last year, roundwood production from certified forests was estimated to account for 29% of global roundwood production that is processed mainly to sawnwood, panels and pulp and paper products. Virtually all of the global certified roundwood production (97%) came from UNECE countries, but certified production is also increasing outside the region. The impact of stringent import regulations in Europe (the EU Timber Regulation) and North America (the Lacey Act) to stop imports of illegal timber, is slowly motivating African, Latin American and Asian producers to obtain certification for their forestlands in order to have access to all markets.
Roundwood consumption at its highest level in almost 10 years
The consumption of roundwood in the UNECE region, comprising logs for industrial uses and fuel, increased by 1.2% in 2015 to reach the highest level in almost 10 years. Removals of industrial roundwood were up by 2% in Europe in 2015, by 1.1% in the CIS sub region and by 0.1% in North America.
The UNECE region continues to be a net exporter of logs; shipments of softwood logs from North America and the Russian Federation to China and the Republic of Korea are among the world’s largest log trade flows.
Exports picking up in the CIS
Over the past five years, CIS countries principally the Russian Federation, have increased exports of forest products by more than 20%. Exports of sawn softwood increased by 20%, sawn hardwood by 55%, and panels by 86% making the CIS sub-region one of the main producers of forest products globally. In the wood-based panel sector, significant investments sustained production and competitiveness especially in the Russian Federation where revenues in the sector have grown by an annual average of 17% in the last four years.
The wood-based panels industry accounted for 13% of the total revenue generated by the forest sector in the Russian Federation in 2015 and stood out for its performance, with year over year production growth of 3 %, and export growth of 14.2%.
In 2015, local currency weaknesses helped to sustain exports and counterbalance challenging domestic economic conditions; thus while consumption and imports decreased, production remained relatively stable.