188.8.131.52. Timber and Non-Wood Products
Forests contribute to GDP in three main ways: industrial wood products, fuelwood,
and the economic impacts of recreation and non-wood products (e.g., mushrooms).
Regional estimates generally are available only for the first (industrial) component,
which captures the direct value of harvesting timber and the value added by
manufacturing. At a global level, forestry contributes approximately 2% to GDP
(FAO, 1997a)6% in Africa, 3% in South America, 2% in North and Central
America, and 1% in Europe. In developing countries, forestry contributes 4%
to GDP; in developed countries the contribution is 1%. Total industrial timber
production in 1997 was 1.5 billion m3, with more than 60% coming
from developed countries (FAO, 1997a).
Although income and population growth influence demand for industrial timber,
recycling and technological change (e.g., use of wood chips for manufactured
products) can affect the quantity harvested from forests. Total industrial wood
harvests have remained relatively constant over the past 20 years, even as global
population and incomes have increased (FAO, 1998). Global per capita consumption
of wood (including fuelwood and roundwood) is about 0.6 m3 yr-1;
this level of consumption has been relatively stable over the past 40 years
(Solberg et al., 1996). Global fuelwood production in 1996 is estimated to be
1.9 billion m3, with 90% of this production occurring in developing
countries (FAO, 1997a). In 1994, annual per capita fuelwood consumption in developing
countries was 0.39 m3, versus 0.16 m3 in developed countries
(FAO, 1997a). It is estimated that 2 billion people rely on wood and charcoal
for fuel (mostly derived from forests), and ensuring an adequate and sustainable
supply will continue to be an important pressure on forests.
Non-wood forest products (NWFP)such as edible mushrooms, nuts, fruits,
palm hearts, herbs, spices, gums, aromatic plants, game, fodder, rattan, medicinal
and cosmetic products, resins, and the likemake important contributions
to household income, food security, national economies, and environmental objectives
of conservation of biodiversity (FAO, 1997a). It is estimated that about 80%
of the population of the developing world depends on NWFP to meet some of their
health and nutritional needs. Several million households worldwide depend heavily
on these products for subsistence consumption and income.