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Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 Launched at COFO

4 October 2010: The Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2010, prepared by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), was launched on the opening of the 20th session of the FAO Committee of Forestry (COFO). 

FRA 2010 represents the most comprehensive assessment of forests and forestry to date, in terms of scope and number of countries involved. It examines the current status and recent trends for about 90 forest variables covering the extent, condition, uses and values of forests and other wooded lands. The Assessment involved over 900 experts from 178 countries, at a cost of US$25 million.

Presenting the FRA 2010 at COFO 2010, Mette Wilkie, FAO, cautioned that the quality of data from many countries remains poor due to a lack of capacity, and noted challenges in assessing forest degradation. She suggested that key variables should be made available on an ongoing basis, instead of every five years, and stressed the increasing role played by remote sensing. Wilkie noted that primary forests are declining by four million hectares per year, while plantations are expanding by five million hectares per year, largely in China. She noted that it is difficult to depict global trends in forest management, noting that certain regions exhibit alarming trends. In addition to deforestation, the Assessment identifies unsustainable forest management, climate change, forest fires, insect pests and diseases, natural disasters and invasive species, as threats to forest biodiversity.

In the ensuing discussion, several countries made statements on the comprehensiveness and utility of FRA 2010. [FAO Press Release and Link to the FRA 2010] [IISD RS Coverage of COFO 2010] [UN Press Release]