Forestry Department Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
ILOT STUDY FOR
The Forest Resources Assessment Programme
Forests are crucial for the well being of humanity. They provide foundations for life on earth through
ecological functions, by regulating the climate and water resources and by serving as habitats for plants
and animals. Forests also furnish a wide range of essential goods such as wood, food, fodder and
medicines, in addition to opportunities for recreation, spiritual renewal and other services.
Today, forests are under pressure from increasing demands of land-based products and services, which
frequently leads to the conversion or degradation of forests into unsustainable forms of land use. When
forests are lost or severely degraded, their capacity to function as regulators of the environment is also
lost, increasing flood and erosion hazards, reducing soil fertility and contributing to the loss of plant and
animal life. As a result, the sustainable provision of goods and services from forests is jeopardized.
FAO, at the request of the member nations and the world community, regularly monitors the world’s
forests through the Forest Resources Assessment Programme. The Global Forest Resources
Assessment 2000 (FRA 2000) reviewed the forest situation by the end of the millennium. FRA 2000
included country-level information based on existing forest inventory data, regional investigations of land-
cover change processes and a number of global studies focusing on the interaction between people and
forests. The FRA 2000 Main report is published in print and is available on the World Wide Web.
The Global Forest Resources Assessment update 2005 (FRA 2005) has been requested by the FAO
Committee on Forestry in 2003. The FRA 2005 will use common thematic areas of the Criteria for
Sustainable Forest Management as a reporting framework. FRA 2005 will also focus on the specific
conditions and issues in each country.
The Forest Resources Assessment Programme is organized under the Forest Resources Division (FOR)
at FAO headquarters in Rome. Contact person is:
The Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) Working Paper Series is designed to reflect the
activities and progress of the FRA Programme of FAO. Working Papers are not authoritative information
sources – they do not reflect the official position of FAO and should not be used for official purposes.
Please refer to the FAO forestry website (www.fao.org/forestry) for access to official information.
The FRA Working Paper Series provides an important forum for the rapid release of preliminary
findings needed for validation and to facilitate the final development of official quality-controlled
publications. Should users find any errors in the documents or have comments for improving their quality
they should contact