Planted forests constituted only 7 percent of the global forest area, or about
271 million hectares, in the year 2005, but they contributed a higher proportion of
overall forest goods and services. In recent years, the broader significance and
importance of planted forests have been recognized internationally, and standards
for their responsible management have been established, relating to social and
environmental as well as economic benefits. As one of the important provisions
from planted forests, this study examined their future potential production of
wood. From a baseline survey of 61 countries, 666 management schemes were
established for planted forests, taking into account tree species, rotation lengths,
production potential and end uses of wood. With an assumed average efficiency
rate of 70 percent, the potential industrial wood production in 2005 from planted
forests was estimated at 1.2 billion m3or about two-thirds of the overall wood pro-
duction in that year. Scenarios until 2030 (detailed) and 2105 (simplified) were
developed, indicating that wood production from planted forests may increase
considerably. Results are provided with breakdowns by region, species groups
and end-use categories. It is concluded that the significance of planted forests,
and recognition of their contributions to a range of development goals, are like-
ly to increase in coming decades.
Role of planted forests
The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) World
Symposium on Man-Made Forests and Their Industrial Importance,
Canberra, Australia, 1967 established a global recognition of the poten-
tial importance of planted forests. Although primarily driven by the need
for a sustainable supply of industrial roundwood, the social and environ-
mental dimensions of planted forests were also emphasized (FAO 1967).
Planted forests have an important role in providing economic and social ben-
efits in eradicating poverty in developing countries and in industrialized coun-
tries where marginalized groups and indigenous peoples have previously been
excluded from the benefits of development processes (IIED 2004).
By Jim Carle and Peter Homgren
This paper was received for publication in March 2008 and has undergone the Journal’s
standard peer review process. Article No. 10469.
©Forest Products Society 2008.
Forest Prod. J. 58(12):6–18.
6 DECEMBER 2008
A Global Outlook 2005-2030
The International Experts Meeting on the Role of
Planted Forests in Sustainable Forest Management in
Chile, 1999 (Anon. 1999) and subsequent UNFF
Intersessional Experts Meeting on the Role of Planted
Forests in Sustainable Forest Management in New Zealand
2003 (Anon. 2003) noted the beginning of a new era for
planted forests. It was recognized that planted forests
needed to fulfill diverse roles depending upon local con-
texts and drivers, and that adaptive management systems
were necessary to respond to changing social, cultural,
environmental and economic expectations. It was also rec-
ognized that although the role of the market and globaliza-
tion provided opportunities for investors in planted
forests, responsible investors were required to take into
account all dimensions as non-market values. To facilitate
this, sound governance, institutional, policy, legal and reg-
ulatory frameworks supported by knowledge exchange
and technology transfer to build capacity and capability
were needed. These developments led to a multi-stake-
holder process to define principles of responsible manage-
ment of planted forests, as a basis for the dialogue at the
international level and guide for strategic decision-making
on planted forests (FAO 2006).
Scope, concepts and definitions
Planted forests is a broader concept than forest plan-
tations. In the past, FAO has defined forest plantations as
those forest stands established by planting and/or seeding
in the process of afforestation or reforestation.
Historically, the emphasis has been on intensively man-
aged forest plantations of single species (native or intro-
duced) stands, with uniform planting densities, even age
classes and shorter rotation, as often found in tropical and
subtropical regions. However, it was not always possible
to distinguish between forest plantations and forest plant-
ingsof native species grown in long-rotation, mixed-species,
mixed-age classes, particularly in temperate and boreal
regions—previously classified as “semi-natural” forests.
Recent international dialogue suggests that a more inclu-
sive concept be used to better reflect overall investments
and returns of planted forests, as well as related social and
environmental concerns (e.g., Anon. 2003).
Prior Global Forest Resources Assessments undertak-
en by FAO reported forest plantation data that strongly
reflected monocultures of primarily introduced species
that did not adequately account for the significant
resources and provision of goods and services that were
provided by the planted semi-natural forests of mainly
Europe and North America.
In recent years, a FAO coordinated expert consulta-
tion on harmonizing forest-related definitions, defined
forest plantations as those forests of introduced species
established through planting or seeding. It was also rec-
ognized that forest plantations were a sub-set of plant-
ed forests that included planted semi-natural forests
Planted forests are now defined as those forests pre-
dominantly composed of trees established through plant-
ing and/or deliberate seeding of native or introduced
species (FAO 2006, FAO 2007). This definition specifically
recognized the planted component of semi-natural forests
comprised primarily of native species, and forest planta-
tions of primarily introduced species. The scope of plant-
ed forests in the continuum of forest characteristics is out-
lined in Figure 1.
The broadening of the definition to include the plant-
ed semi-natural forests not previously reported doubles
the area that will have a substantial impact on the yields
of forest products and social and environmental services.
According to FAO (2005), there were 140 million hectares
of forest plantations globally, of which 78 percent were for
productive purposes. According to the Global Planted
FOREST PRODUCTS JOURNAL Vol. 58, No. 12 7
regeneration Planted Productive Protective
Figure 1. — Scope and concept of planted forests.
8 DECEMBER 2008
Forest Thematic Study (Del Lungo et al. 2006), the global
planted forest area was estimated at 271 million hectares,
of which 76 percent was for productive purpose. Based on
these results, this paper explores alternative global out-
looks for the provision of wood from planted forests from
2005 to 2030.
Recent outlook studies
The global outlook for plantations (ABARE 1999) and
the global outlook for future wood supply from forest plan-
tations (FAO 2000) provide the most comprehensive and
recent studies on forest plantation outlook. Both studies
were based upon FAO’s Forest Resources Assessment 1990
dataset, updated to 1995 in 1997. Both studies used prevail-
ing forest plantation definitions as detailed by FAO (1998).
The ABARE (1999) study estimated that although the pro-
ductive forest plantation area was 116 million hectares or
about 3 percent of the global forest area in 2000, forest planta-
tions were estimated to produce 35 percent of the global wood
supply in 2000, 44 percent in 2020, and 46 percent in 2040.
The FAO (1998) outlook study detailed three scenar-
ios of future forest plantation expansion and three differ-
ent extrapolations for future industrial roundwood con-
sumption to 2050. In 1995 it was estimated that 124 million
hectares of forest plantations (3.5 percent of forest area)
yielded more than 22 percent of industrial roundwood pro-
duction and by 2010, between 31 and 34 percent, by 2020
up to 46 percent, and by 2050 up to 64 percent— depend-
ing upon the forest plantation production scenario and
extrapolation of industrial roundwood consumption.
These and other outlook studies (Solberg et al. 1996, Sedjo
and Lyon 1996, IIED 1996, WRI 1998, ITTO 1999, Turner et
al. 2006) assist policy- and decision-makers, investors, and
managers to better understand the key role that planted
resources play in provision of wood, nonwood, and social
and environmental services.
The United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED), Earth Summit in Rio, 1992 (UNCED
1992) recognized the significance of planted forests in sus-
tainable forest management as reflected in the Forest
Principles (UN 1992) and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 (UN 1993).
United Nations legally binding instruments, including the
Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD 2008),
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC 2008),
and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD 2008)
strongly support afforestation and reforestation in rehabilita-
tion of degraded forests and fragile ecosystems to restore the
contribution of forests and trees in mitigating the effects of
climate change, reversing loss of natural forests and restoring
landscapes and increasingly a competitive source of bioener-
gy. From 1995, the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests and
Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (UNFF 2008a, 2008b),
subsequently supported by the United Nations Forum on
Forests (UNFF 2008c), formulated a comprehensive set of
proposals for action to achieve sustainable forest manage-
ment, several of which related to enhancing the social, cultur-
al, environmental and economic benefits of planted forests.
Planted forests are recognized as a valuable land use
to realize the values and principles of the Millennium
Development Goals (UN 2000), particularly to: eradicate
extreme poverty and hunger (Goal 1); ensure environmen-
tal sustainability (Goal 7); and develop global partnerships
for development (Goal 8). Despite being less than 2 per-
cent of global land use, planted forests play an important
role in the provision of a wide range of goods (roundwood
[industrial and subsistence] and fiber, bioenergy, and non-
wood forest products) and social and environmental serv-
ices (conservation, protection of soil and water, rehabilita-
tion of degraded lands, combating desertification, carbon
sinks, recreation, diversification of urban and rural land-
scapes and employment). Responsible management of
planted forests can reduce the pressure on the range of
goods and ser vices provided by native forests and
enhance the livelihoods of local communities, including
indigenous peoples. Recent standards (FAO 2006, ITTO
1993; CIFOR 2001, 2003; IUCN/ITTO 2006) and certification
schemes have highlighted the need for policy makers,
planners and forest managers to strive to balance the
social, cultural, environmental and economic dimensions
of planted forest investments
In recent years a diverse modern forest industries sec-
tor has been encouraged to adapt to the use of the “new
wood” from planted forests. The range of industrial prod-
ucts from planted forests include: lumber, plywood and
veneer, reconstituted panels (MDF, OSB, chipboard, etc.),
modular components (laminated products, moulding,
framing, floorings, etc.), pulp and paper, and increasingly
bioenergy. Scientific research and development, particu-
larly in genetic improvement and forest industries pro-
cessing have revolutionized the productivities and the end
use options for planted forests. Application of biotechnol-
ogy has substantially improved site-species matching,
growth, yields and financial benefits for planted forest
investors, particularly in fast-growing, short-rotation
crops. The development of forest industries technology
has resulted in increasing end use options for raw materi-
als from planted forests, improved efficiencies and
reduced wood industries costs (Sutton 2003, Millennium
Ecosystem Assessment 2005).
Industrial roundwood from planted forests is being
recognized as a renewable resource and an energy efficient
and environmentally friendly raw material for construc-
tion when compared to alternative products such as steel,
aluminum, concrete and plastic (Sutton 2003). Planted
forests can make significant positive contributions to rural
economies through primary and secondary industry
development, employment and development of rural infra-
structure. Trees are increasingly being planted to support
agricultural production systems, community livelihoods,
poverty alleviation, and food security (FAO 2006).
This study attempts to estimate the wood supply
from planted forests globally to provide policy and deci-
sion-makers data and information on anticipated outlook
options. While recognizing the important social and
environmental services from planted forests, the outlook
for these dimensions is beyond the scope of this study.
Material and methods
The baseline data for the present outlook were
obtained from a survey of the status of planted forests in
61 countries, representing about 95 percent of the estimat-
ed global planted forest area of 271 million hectares in
2005. The survey requested in-depth information about
planted forests in each country, including species distribu-
tion, ownership, end use, rotation lengths, mean annual
increment (MAI) and age class distribution. Of the 61 coun-
tries, 36 responded to a formal information request, and 25
were subject to a desk study (Del Lungo et al. 2006). The
present outlook is limited to these 61 countries and thus
provides slightly conservative results for global planted
forests. A summary of the initial state is presented in
Table 1. The countries and their proportion of planted
forests over all forests are detailed in Figure 2.
Three scenarios were defined for the outlook, taking
into consideration potential changes in the planted forest
area (mainly through new plantings) as well as opportuni-
ties for increased productivity resulting from more effi-
cient management practices, new technology and genetic
improvements (Table 2).
The unit of analysis in the outlook is a “management
scheme”, defined by country, species/species group,
purpose (protective or productive) and characteristic
(plantation or semi-natural forest) of the planted forest
FOREST PRODUCTS JOURNAL Vol. 58, No. 12 9
Pinus spp. Other Acacia Eucalyptus Other
Mha Mha Mha Mha Mha Mha
Africa 1.2 0.5 5.2 1.2 1.4 9
Asia 18.9 15.3 3.8 7.6 79.2 125
North, Central & Eastern Europe 26.4 36.0 --12.1 74
Southern Europe 0.0 4.6 - 0.0 4.7 9
North & Central America 18.9 7.2 --1.7 28
South America 5.1 0.3 0.2 4.5 0.9 11
Oceania 2.7 0.2 0.0 0.5 0.2 4
Total 73 64 9 14 100 261
Note: Mha = millions of hectares
Figure 2. — The 61 study countries showing the percentage of planted forests area out of total forest area.
Table 1. — Summary of planted forest area in the 61 studied countries by region and major species group in 2005.
10 DECEMBER 2008
subset (Del Lungo et al. 2006). Parameters applied in the
outlook model for each management scheme are listed in
Table 3, together with one example management scheme:
Picea sitchensis in Ireland. In total, 666 management
schemes were identified for the 61 countries and applied
in the modeling. Input data missing from the country sur-
vey and data for area efficiency and productivity changes
were filled through expert estimates. All management
scheme input data are given in Carle et al. (2008). A sum-
mary of the management scheme inputs is shown in Table
4and Figure 3.
A deterministic model was developed using Excel
(Microsoft Inc. 2007) for the outlook to predict future pro-
duction of wood in each management scheme, for each of
the five wood end use categories, following the process in
Figure 4. The model was run for all 666 management
schemes for each of the three scenarios for the period
2005–2030. Table 5 shows model results for one example
management scheme: Picea sitchensis on Ireland, using the
input data from Table 3. To derive longer term projections
Scenario 1 – Pessimistic scenario
Area changes are assumed to be half of the predicted
ones for Scenario 2, and there are no productivity
increases. This represents a scenario where the cur-
rent increase of planted forest area will slow down.
Scenario 2 – Business as usual
Area changes have been predicted based on past
trends and are assumed to continue at the same rate
until 2030. However, there are no productivity increases
in this scenario.
Scenario 3 – Higher productivity
Area changes have been predicted as in Scenario 2. In
addition, an annual productivity increase has been
applied for those management schemes where genetic,
management or technological improvements are expect-
ed. As an example, a productivity increase of 2 percent
annually equals an accumulated productivity increase of
64 percent for the 25 year period (2005–2030).
Parameter Unit Comment Example: Ireland, Picea sitchensis
- forest plantation
- productive purpose
Area ha Total extent of the management scheme. 301,080 ha
Age class % Distribution ofthe area across 12 age classes. The sum 1-5: 10% 31-40: 20%
distribution of the 12 proportions to be 100. 6-10: 10% 41-50: 9%
11-20: 23% 51-60: 2%
Rotation length years Average rotation length across the management scheme 50 years
Mean annual m3ha-1 yr-1Average growth in stem volume on bark as average 18 m3ha-1 yr-1
increment (MAI) over rotation cycle and across the management scheme.
Area efficiency % An estimate of the relative performance (max 100%) of 90%
the management scheme, taking into account (a)
reductions of overall area related to infrastructure or
unsuccessful stand establishments, (b) reduced
productivity due to stand health issues or suboptimal
management practices, (c) influence of other
management objectives, particularly related to
protective functions, on the wood volume production.
Volume end use for: % Distribution of expected end use of stem wood Fuel / Bioenergy: 5%
- Fuel / Bioenergy into five categories as listed in the left column. Pulp / Fiber: 30%
- Pulp / Fiber The sum of the five proportions should be 100. Wood products: 60%
- Wood products Unspecified: 0%
- Unspecified Harvest losses: 5%
- Harvest losses
Annual area change % The annual increase in area (net new establishments). Scenario 1: 1.5%
The increase is applied in relation to the initial area Scenarios 2 and 3: 3%
throughout the studied time period, i.e., as a linear
development. This parameter varies between
the applied scenarios.
Annual % The annual increase in overall productivity, Scenarios 1 and 2: 0%
productivity representing improved area efficiency (see above), Scenario 3: 1%
change better management practises, higher technology
efficiency and genetic improvements. The increase
is applied to the previous year throughout the studied
time period, i.e., as an exponential development.
This parameter was applied only in Scenario 3.
Table 3. — Model input parameters for each management scheme.
Table 2. — Description of the three scenarios applied
in the outlook model.
FOREST PRODUCTS JOURNAL Vol. 58, No. 12 11
Rotation Area MAI Production Management Average Average area Average Proportion Proportion Proportion
length potential schemes area expansion productivity young aged over-aged
area*MAI included efficiency (Scenarios increase stands1stands1stands1
2and 3) (Scenario 3)
years Mha Mm3yr-1 n%% yr-1 % yr-1 %% %
-10 13 23 288 43 76 1.46 1.89 53 30 17
11-20 25 10 240 60 63 2.85 1.41 43 30 27
21-30 64 10 615 90 72 0.84 0.52 55 36 8
31-40 38 7 251 71 58 2.40 0.34 58 25 17
41-50 16 8 129 48 67 1.11 0.55 44 39 17
51-60 23 8 187 60 69 1.44 0.74 63 31 6
61-70 39 7 278 60 77 0.54 0.13 57 39 4
71-80 15 7 100 44 70 0.52 0.28 80 20 0
81-90 11 5 53 36 93 1.81 0.80 81 17 2
91-100 26 15 31 68 0.74 0.12 78 20 2
101+ 14 7 91 123 62 0.00 0.01 57 40 3
Total 261 9 2246 666 70 1.29 0.58 58 31 11
1) Young stands defined as aged <0.5 * rotation length; aged stands defined as aged 0.5-1 * rotation length; over-aged stands defined
as aged > rotation length.
Table 4. — Summary of planted forest area and model input parameters for different rotation lengths at 2005 for
the 666 agement schemes identified.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.52.5 3 3.5
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
North, Central and Eastern Europe
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
5 10 15 20 25 30
Figure 3. — Distributions of rotation lengths and maturity of stands in relation to rotation length by region in 2005.
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Million ha Million ha
North and Central America South America
at a more general level, the rotation length distribution in
Table 4 was used to create a simplified set of 11 manage-
ment schemes, for which the model was run for each of
the three scenarios for the period 2005 to 2105.
Geographic presentation of findings
While the analysis was based on 61 countries, it is
assumed that the results provide a global perspective of
future wood production from planted forests, as they rep-
resent ca. 95 percent of the global area in 2005. Seven
regions were identified for presenting the results as shown
in Table 6.
Model results indicate that the area of planted forests
will increase in all scenarios (Table 7). From an initial area
of 261 million hectares, the area increase in Scenario 1 will
be 16 percent to 303 million hectares, and in Scenarios 2
and 3 an increase of 32 percent to 345 million hectares in
year 2030. Among regions, the highest absolute increase
will be in Asia and the highest relative increase in
Southern Europe. Among species groups, the highest
absolute increase will be in pine forests.
Wood volume trends
The model provides estimates for wood production
by species groups and regions for the period 2005–2030 as
illustrated in Figure 5 and Table 8. The total volume
produced increases from 1.4 billion m3in 2005 to 1.6, 1.7
and 2.1 billion m3, respectively, in the three scenarios. Most
of the variation between scenarios are in Asia and South
America where the higher productivity scenario gives a
considerable increase in wood production. The differ-
ences between Scenarios 1 and 2 are very small, primarily
as additional planted area in Scenario 2 may not generate
wood within the studied period.
Figure 5 also illustrates that South America and Asia
have a more dynamic future, compared with other regions,
for Scenario 3, and that the volume increases in this scenario
will mainly be in Eucalyptus and other hardwood species.
Table 8 illustrates that the proportion of wood for indus-
trial use (comprised of the sum of the end use categories
pulp/fiber and wood products) is about 85 percent of all
wood from planted forests. The total volume of wood for
industrial use increases from 1.2 billion m3yr-1 in 2005 to 1.9
billion m3yr-1 in 2030 according to Scenario 3.
12 DECEMBER 2008
Figure 4. — Outlook model process applied to each identified management scheme for each scenario.
2005 2020 2030
Category Unit Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3
Area 000 ha 301 301 301 369 437 437 414 527 527
Fuel / Bioenergy 000 m3110 110 110 244 244 283 293 293 375
Pulp / Fiber 000 m3658 658 658 1463 1463 1699 1756 1756 2252
Wood products 000 m31317 1317 1317 2926 2926 3398 3512 3512 4504
Harvest losses 000 m3110 110 110 244 244 244 293 293 293
Total volume 000 m32195 2195 2195 4877 4877 5623 5853 5853 7423
Table 5. — Example of model results for one of the 666 analyzed management schemes: Ireland, Picea sitchensis (see
also model inputs in Table 3). Note similarities in wood outputs between Scenarios 1 and 2 as new plantings, in
this case, will not generate wood before 2030.
Region n survey countries
North, Central & Eastern Europe 24
Southern Europe 11
North & Central America 2
South America 4
Table 6. — Regions in this study and number
of survey countries in each.
In Figure 6, the continued linear increases of wood
volumes in Scenarios 1 and 2 are confirmed. Scenario 1
leads to a volume production of about 2.5 billion m3yr-1
100 years from now, and Scenario 2 results in a production
of about 3.5 billion m3yr-1. For Scenario 3, however, the
assumed continued increased productivity gives a much
more rapid development of wood production to about 9
billion m3yr-1 in year 2105.
Methodology and data issues
The outlook model applied considers the development
of wood production under current forest management
regimes. It does not analyze consequences of eventual
shifts in, e.g., wood markets, land-use competition, trade
regulations or political decisions that may affect the devel-
opment of planted forests. Further, the model does not
apply any economic considerations to maximize the
returns on investments, but assumes that the biological
production potential combined with the estimated efficien-
cy ration is a good measure of future wood output. The
defined scenarios do, however, assume that there will be
drivers that support an expanding investment in planted
forests and improved productivity (in Scenario 3). The
results should be interpreted in relation to these limita-
tions and assumptions and could be used as input to fur-
ther economic analyses.
Input data from the country survey were not complete
for many of the management schemes, meaning that the
analysts had to make estimates at the level of individual
management schemes to fill these gaps. Further, data on
productivity change and area efficiency were not included
in the survey, but estimated by the analysts. These esti-
mates were made in consultation with literature and expert-
ise on the species/country in question. Carle et al. (2008)
provides details on input data and estimates made.
Comparison with earlier studies
The results on planted forest areas and volumes cor-
respond well to previous studies, considering that the
scope was widened to include semi-natural planted
forests. This study, consequently, provides a more com-
plete picture of the extent and production of planted
forests, particularly in the temperate region.
The present study has described the planted forest
resources and their management in greater detail than
FOREST PRODUCTS JOURNAL Vol. 58, No. 12 13
Region Acacia Eucalyptus Pinus Other Other Total
Africa 5.2 1.2 1.2 0.5 1.4 9.4
Asia 3.8 7.6 18.9 15.3 79.2 124.8
NCE Europe 26.4 36.0 12.1 74.5
S Europe 4.6 4.7 9.3
NC America 18.9 7.2 1.7 27.8
South America 0.2 4.5 5.1 0.3 0.9 10.9
Oceania 0.5 2.7 0.2 0.2 3.6
Total 9.1 13.8 73.2 64.0 100.3 260.5
2030, Scenario 1
Africa 4.7 1.2 1.4 0.5 1.6 9.4
Asia 4.6 10.6 23.3 16.9 92.8 148.3
NCE Europe 28.8 38.3 12.5 79.6
S Europe 7.5 7.6 15.0
NC America 21.9 9.8 2.0 33.7
South America 0.2 5.2 6.0 0.3 1.0 12.7
Oceania 0.7 2.8 0.2 0.3 3.9
Total 9.5 17.7 84.2 73.5 117.8 302.7
2030, Scenarios 2 and 3
Africa 4.2 1.2 1.6 0.5 1.8 9.4
Asia 5.4 13.6 27.6 18.5 106.4 171.7
NCE Europe 31.3 40.6 13.0 84.9
S Europe 10.3 10.4 20.8
NC America 25.0 12.5 2.4 39.8
South America 0.2 5.7 6.5 0.4 1.1 13.9
Oceania 0.8 2.9 0.2 0.3 4.2
Total 9.9 21.4 94.9 83.0 135.5 344.6
Table 7. — Area of planted forests by region and major species groups at 2005 and 2030 for the three scenarios.
14 DECEMBER 2008
Figure 5. — Wood volume produced in planted forests 2005–2030 by major species group and region, for each
of three scenarios (million m3yr-1). The X-axis in each graph represents the time period 2005–2030.
previous studies, through 666 management schemes in 61
countries representing about 95 percent of the global
planted forest area. The results are, therefore, possible to
break down into regions, rotation lengths, species and age
class distribution and projected end uses of the produced
wood. This provides important perspectives as to the
types and geographic distribution of planted forests that
were previously not well documented.
Previous outlooks and assessments have, like this
one, made assumptions as to the overall management effi-
ciency of reported planted forests. On average, this study
assumes a 70 percent management efficiency, which is in
parity with previous studies. Previous outlooks have not,
however, emphasized increases in productivity over time,
following both increased forest management efficiency as
well as genetic and other improvements. As productivity
has increased considerably in past decades, it is reason-
able to conclude that Scenario 3, applying continued posi-
tive productivity trend is the most probable scenario until
2030. It can, however, be argued whether it is realistic that
this development continues until year 2105 as also mod-
elled in this study.
Significance of planted forests
The rates of new planting and expansion of the global
planted forest resource have continued in most regions of
the world as the increasing role of planted forests as an
investment and legitimate land use have been recognized.
Land use conflicts with competing land uses are emerging as
a threat that needs to be addressed by participatory plan-
ning with key stakeholder groups. However, planted forests
account for less than 2 percent of land-cover globally.
The proportion of wood for industrial use from planted
forests depends upon the accuracy of scenarios for planted
forests as well as industrial roundwood consumption and
production. In 2005 the global industrial roundwood pro-
duced was 1.8 billion m3(FAO 2005) with some variations
between estimates (Fig. 7). The wood for industrial use avail-
able from planted forests in 2005, calculated as the sum of
pulp/fiber and wood products in Table 8, was 1.2 billion m3,
FOREST PRODUCTS JOURNAL Vol. 58, No. 12 15
Fuel/ Bioenergy Pulp/Fiber Wood products Unspecified Har vest losses Total
Africa 11 9 55 6182
Asia 79 141 264 65495
NCE Europe 17 123 166 8 15 329
Southern Europe 3 26 26 0358
NC America 7 98 24 07135
South America 19 133 91 0 10 253
Oceania 1 11 31 0447
Total 136 540 659 21 44 1400
Africa 10 14 57 6289
Asia 83 132 311 18 6 550
NCE Europe 18 129 185 4 17 353
Southern Europe 5 44 45 0598
NC America 7 106 29 07149
South America 21 157 106 0 12 295
Oceania 1 12 35 0453
Scenario 1, Total 146 593 767 29 53 1589
Africa 10 15 56 6289
Asia 88 146 321 20 7 582
NCE Europe 18 129 185 4 17 353
Southern Europe 6 55 56 06123
NC America 8 117 31 08164
South America 23 173 115 0 13 323
Oceania 1 13 36 0455
Scenario 2, Total 155 647 800 30 57 1689
Africa 10 22 63 62103
Asia 107 204 417 22 7 756
NCE Europe 20 137 200 4 17 378
Southern Europe 8 67 69 06150
NC America 10 149 38 08206
South America 34 268 156 0 13 471
Oceania 2 19 55 0481
Scenario 3, Total 191 866 998 33 57 2145
Table 8. — Wood volume produced in planted forests by region and use at 2005 and 2030 for the three scenarios
16 DECEMBER 2008
or potentially 66 percent of global industrial roundwood pro-
duction. Comparing Scenario 3 in this study with outlooks of
industrial wood use (e.g., Sedjo and Lyons 1996, Turner et al.
2006), this proportion could rise to 69 to 80 percent.
According to this study, about 10 percent of wood
yielded from planted forests is used for bioenergy. Only a
small proportion of liquid biofuels are currently forest-
based, but it is anticipated that within a decade the devel-
opment of an economically viable process for producing
lingo-cellulosic liquid biofuels will lead to the widespread
use of forest biomass in the transport sector. Residues
from the forest products industry and wood
from planted forests provide the main sources
of supply of commercial lingo-cellulosic biofu-
Although the role of the market and global-
ization provide opportunities for investors in
planted forests for the marketing and trade of
wood and nonwood forest products, responsi-
ble investors recognize the need to take into
account all dimensions, including the non-mar-
ket values. Planted forests have an increasingly
important role in providing social, cultural and
environmental benefits as well as the economic
values. These include the recognition and the
maintenance of social and cultural services,
including the welfare and empowerment of
adjacent communities, workers and other
stakeholders and adopting planning, manage-
ment, utilization and monitoring mechanisms
to avoid adverse impacts. Planted forests also
impact the provision of ecosystem services, so
planning, management, and utilization and
monitoring mechanisms should be adopted to
maintain and enhance the conservation of envi-
ronmental services by adopting watershed
management, soil erosion protection and land-
scape approaches to maintain water, soil, forest
health, nutrient and carbon balances
and restore degraded landscapes.
Furthermore, an indirect benefit of
planted forests, if planned and man-
aged responsibly, is to take some
pressure for wood for industrial pur-
poses away from native forests to
allow them to be managed for conser-
vation, protection and recreation pur-
poses. Planted forests can make posi-
tive contributions towards meeting
the objectives of the Millennium
Development Goals, CBD, UNCCD,
UNFCCC, UNFF and other legal and
non-legally binding instruments.
The UN Convention on Climate
Change and the Kyoto Protocol
(UNFCCC 2008) provides for mecha-
nisms to offset greenhouse gas emis-
sions, including afforestation, refor-
estation and reduction in deforesta-
tion and forest degradation, to miti-
gate the impacts of climate change.
Thus, planted forests, with their rela-
tively high rates of growth and productivity, provide a high
rate of annual carbon sequestration and provide a valu-
able carbon sink. In addition, the increasing wood prod-
ucts flows from planted forests provide long-term carbon
storage. For the 271 million hectares of planted forests
globally, and using average growth rates from this study
and carbon expansion factors (IPCC 2004), planted forests
sequester about 1.5 giga tonnes of carbon per year, which
is in parity with calculated losses from deforestation.
Additionally, an estimated 0.5 giga tonnes of carbon is
Figure 7. — Industrial roundwood supply (all forests) from various studies
Figure 6. — Long-term (100 year) projection of total, global wood
production from planted forests for the three studied scenarios.
2005 2025 2045 2065 2085 2105
Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3
stored long-term in forest products from planted forests
every year. Thus planted forests can play a critical role in
sequestering carbon and providing carbon sinks.
Responsible management of planted forests can
result in positive contributions being made towards
meeting the objectives of the Millennium Development
Goals, CBD, UNCCD, UNFCCC, UNFF/IPF/IFF and other
legal and non-legally binding instruments. Major drivers
that will influence planted forests development in the
•Good governance and supportive policy, legal,
regulatory, and institutional frameworks for long-term
investments in planted forest developments.
• The impact of globalization on the nature of investment
portfolios available for planted forest developments
and access to global forest products markets.
• Availability of land suitable for planted forest
developments that does not compete with existing land
uses, including food and energy production through
agricultural crops, livestock or naturally regenerating
forests; native forests should not be cleared to
establish planted forests, but they should benefit from
the reduced harvesting pressure on them for
• Recognition that planted forests are a land use that
provides, among other benefits, wood products that
are renewable, energy efficient and environmentally
friendly unlike competing construction industry products
such as cement, steel, aluminium and plastic products.
• Recognition that climate change adaptation, but
particularly mitigation can benefit from planted forest
developments to sequester carbon and provide carbon
sinks both in planted forest stands and in the forest
products harvested and utilized.
• Advances in technology particularly in:
•Commercially viable processes to convert
lignocellulosic biomass to liquid biofuels from
• Biotechnology to produce high-quality
reproductive materials that have high yields, are
resistant to insects and diseases, and offer
improved end-use qualities.
• Silviculture, forest health, fire management, and
• Harvesting and wood industries to utilize planted
forests species, piece sizes and wood properties for
a range of solid, panel and reconstituted products.
It is difficult to predict how the future for planted
forests will unfold towards 2030 as the resources are sub-
ject to several major existing and emerging drivers.
Planted forests can also be used in a flexible array of
wood, non-wood and social and environmental services
that are increasingly in demand. We would like to con-
clude, however, that the significance of planted forests for
wood and other social, economic or environmental bene-
fits are likely to continue to increase. However, if the full
potential productivity and benefits of planted forests are
to be achieved, responsible policies, plans and practices
need to be adopted and applied to balance sustainable
livelihoods and land use needs.
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About the Authors
Corresponding author Jim Carle is Chief, Forest
Resources Development Service, Forestry Department,
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations, Rome (email@example.com). Peter Holmgren is
Director, Environment, Climate Change and Bioenergy
Division, Natural Resources Department, FAO, Rome
Sections & Chapters
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