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Global forest resources assessment 2005: progress towards sustainable forest management

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This extensive FAO assessment of global forest resources, describes the extent, uses and value of forest resources covering 229 countries and territories between 1990 and 2005. The report stresses the importance of forest resources in fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, in particular in meeting the targets set for reducing poverty and ensuring a sustainable global environment.The main headline from the report is that whilst 13 million hectares of the world’s forests are still lost annually due to deforestation, this rate of net forest loss is slowing down, thanks to new planting and natural expansion of existing forests.Other main findings include:Deforestation: South America suffered the largest net loss of forests between 2000 and 2005 Asia moved from a net loss of around 800 000 ha per year in the 1990s to a net gain of one million hectares per year between 2000 and 2005, primarily as a result of large-scale afforestation reported by China primary forests account for 36 percent of total forest area, but are being lost or modified at a rate of 6 million hectares a year through deforestation or selective loggingForest use:While most forests are managed for multiple uses, FRA 2005 found that 11 percent are designated principally for the conservation of biological diversity - an estimated increase of 96 million hectares since 1990Around 348 million hectares of forests are used to conserve soil and water, control avalanches and desertification, stabilize sand dunes and protect coastal areasOne-third of the world’s forests are mainly used for production of wood, fibre and non-wood products, and more than half have production of these products as one of their management objectives, indicating the importance of forest products at the local, national and international levelsthe amount of carbon stored in forest biomass decreased globally by 1.1 Gt annually between 1990 and 2005. Carbon stored in forest biomass, deadwood, litter and soil together is still roughly 50 percent more than the amount of carbon in the atmosphere