Increases In Lat. Am. And Caribbean’s Forest Wood
UN AGENCY REPORTS INCREASES IN LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN’S FOREST WOOD
New York, Aug 2 2006 1:00PM
Latin America and the Caribbean will obtain more than 60 per cent of its sustainable wood supply from planted forests by the year 2020, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said, but high deforestation rates in the region’s natural forests are still expected to continue.
According to FAO forecasts in the recently published Forestry Sector Outlook Study for Latin America and the Caribbean, the area covered by planted forests will increase from 13.1 million hectares in 2005 to 17.3 million hectares in 2020. The potential wood supply from such forests is expected to increase from 303 million cubic metres in 2003 to 480 million cubic metres in 2020.
The FAO says increasingly restricted access to natural forests and greater regulation in the management and use of private resources are driving the shift.
“The more wood that comes from planted forests, the more natural forests in Latin America and the Caribbean will be conserved. This is definitely a positive trend,” said Olman Serrano, an FAO senior forestry officer responsible for the study.
The FAO said that deforestation is still expected to continue, a result of expanding agriculture and cattle-raising. Natural forests in the region are projected to shrink from 924 to 881 million hectares between 2005 and 2020. The potential wood supply from such forests is slated to shrink from 320 to 293 million cubic metres between 2003 and 2020.
Population and economic growth are also expected to create increased demand for forest products, placing further pressure on available resources, according to the study. On the other hand, the study predicted that the number of protected areas is likely to expand as a result of greater environmental awareness.