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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Forest products in the global bioeconomy

Enabling substitution by wood-based products and contributing
to the Sustainable Development Goals


AO has adopted a new Strategic Framework to guide its work from 2022 to 2031. It seeks to support the Agenda 2030 through the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems that leave no-one behind. The Organization recognizes the key role of a bioeconomy that balances economic value and social welfare with environmental sustainability in achieving the Agenda 2030 goals.


This classification is designed to cover the entire spectrum of primary and secondary
wood and paper products. It encompasses not only more commonly produced and traded wood and paper products for which FAO, Eurostat, ITTO and UNECE collect statistics on a regular basis, but also wood-based products created in recent years.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Classification of forest products 2022

A statistical classification system for forest products is essential for the collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of high-quality statistical data on forest products, trade and industrial capacity


Biodiversity in a forestry context

In a forestry context, biodiversity stewardship occurs on multiple levels. To dive deeper, just click on the links next to each section to find out more.


The patchwork nature of South Africa’s forestry landscape is a result of
over 30% of forestry landholdings remaining unplanted, 20% of these are
left as natural ecosystems which provide a complex network of corridors
and pathways, promoting ecosystem services and biodiversity.


“Our study showed that with the use of wood resources currently exported as chips, as well as planting trees in areas that have been earmarked for afforestation, it will be possible (in the long term) to sustain a future residential building market where all houses are built with wood,” says Dr Philip Crafford from SU’s Department of Forest and Wood Science.

Stellenbosch University

Sustainable wood-based housing market possible in SA

Researchers at Stellenbosch University (SU) found that South Africa has sufficient log resource options for a sustainable wood residential building market.


The growing role of forest products in climate change mitigation

The growing role of forest products in climate change mitigation & the need for nationally determined forestry approaches to achieve  net zero emissions

Executive summary

More than ever, people are moving to urban areas which have historically made a significant
contribution to global greenhouse emissions. Cities already account for more than 80% of global
economic output, consume close to two-thirds of the world’s energy, and account for more
than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions


Numerous studies have shown that timber is not only renewable, but is also the best performer across most environmental impact factors when compared to building material alternatives such as steel and concrete, with particularly good performance in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

Stellenbosch University

South African log resource availability and potential environmental impact of timber construction

We investigated the South African log resource availability and the potential global warming impact of an increasing wood-based residential building market.


Sustainable Forest Resources (ACSF)

Status of public policies encouraging wood use in construction
– an overview

Draft Background Paper prepared for the 61st Session of the FAO Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries, April 2020


This report has been prepared for the Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based
Industries (ACSFI) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It
provides an overview of policies encouraging the use of wood as construction material and
thus contributing to the transition towards a bioeconomy.

Independent Research

Arup - Global Timber Statement

Timber construction is gaining popularity for a wide range of building types and sizes. As a natural cellular material, it is strong and light, making it easy to transport and erect…

Independent advice

Arup is an independent firm, with no ties to specific manufacturers or suppliers. Our understanding of the full supply chain for timber buildings helps us guide clients through the important strategic choices.

A truly green deal

Timber has some of the best insulating properties of any material helping keep us naturally warm and achieve energy efficiency targets. Timber products can be readily reused and recycled and, increasingly, used as a low-carbon fuel. Timber products provide low-carbon benefits throughout their life-cycle with none of the subsidies or incentives associated with other low-carbon sectors.

The Timber Industry

Growing Our Low Carbon Economy

The forestry and timber industry is a key part of our environmental and industrial heritage and a vital part of our low-carbon future.

Strategy Execution Advisers (Pty) Ltd

Masterplan for the Commercial Forestry Sector in South Africa: 2020 – 2025

The Masterplan for the Commercial Forestry Sector in South Africa 2020 – 2025 is a high-level action plan. It is just one of several diverse sector master plans initiated by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic).


The Forestry Sector Masterplan is in support of the Re-imagined Industrial Strategy (RIS) for South Africa (SA), approved by the Government in June 2019. Forestry is also one of the sectors that is being prioritised under the Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI – a partnership between the National Government and the private sector to stimulate investment.