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2019 FAO Report Highlights State of Global Forest Markets

March 04, 2020
Author: John Greene

The 2019 edition of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Forest Products Annual Market Review provides a comprehensive assessment of global forest market developments in 2018 and 2019, as well as the policies that continue to drive those developments.


The global UNECE forest region is divided into three subregions: Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and North America. The total region stretches from Canada and the US in the west through Europe to the Russian Federation and the Caucasus and Central Asian republics in the east. It encompasses roughly 1.7 billion hectares (4.2 billion acres) of forestland, which includes just under half of the world’s total forested area.

The following are direct excerpts from the latest Review using data from  2018 and 2019:

  • Economic growth accelerated in the US in 2018, supported by fiscal stimulus and a robust labor market. Economic activity moderated in the euro area as export growth weakened throughout the year; the most recent EU member states did relatively well, with output accelerating in a number of those countries. The recovery in the CIS gained strength, driven by the Russian Federation.
  • The total consumption of roundwood – comprising logs for industrial uses and fuel – in the UNECE region was estimaforest-during-day-2440061ted at 1.4 billion cubic meters (m3) in 2018, an increase of almost 5% compared with 2017.
  • The three UNECE subregions recorded mixed results in the consumption of sawn softwood in 2018, with increases of 2.6% in Europe and 1.0% in North America but a decline of 0.5% in the CIS. Sawn softwood production increased in all three subregions.
  • Sawn hardwood consumption and production continue to stagnate in the UNECE region, despite relatively good economic conditions in most of the region in 2018.
  • Overall, panel production was up by 1.1% in the UNECE region in 2018, and apparent consumption grew by 1.3%. Growth in the wood-based panels sector is projected to continue into 2019, with production expected to increase by 2.1% and apparent consumption by 0.5%.
  • The production and apparent consumption of graphic papers continued to decline in virtually every market in 2018 as end users reduced their advertising budgets for print media.
  • The apparent consumption of paper and paperboard fell slightly in the UNECE region in 2018, with declines in Europe and North America of just over 1% and an increase in the CIS of 2.6%.
  • Wood energy consumption changed little overall in the UNECE region in 2018. The production of wood pellets increased in North America and the CIS, mainly to supply Europe as well as the Republic of Korea and Japan.
  • Asia and the Pacific accounts for about 54% of global furniture consumption and the UNECE region for 41%. Africa, the Middle East and Latin America together are responsible for only 5% of global furniture consumption.
  • The Europe subregion leads the world in CLT production, with about 60% of the global total (currently about 700,000 m3). Ten CLT plants were in operation in North America in 2018, with two more under construction. The first CLT plant in the Russian Federation is under construction.

Click here to read the full report that includes detailed data for each sector of the global forest products industry.


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