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Background Paper
List of Issue Paper
Streering Committee
List of Participant
Concept Paper
Forestry in IRAN
Agenda Of the Meeting
General Information


Low forest cover

Low forest cover is al global concern. It is a multi - dimensional with economic social, cultural and environmental impacts on the daily life of hundreds of millions of people in the developing countries. Given the specific economic and social conditions of the developing countries with LFC, special attention should be accorded to them by the international community. Community. And forest dwellers in these countries depend on forests to meet their subsistence needs, such as fuel, food, and forage, grazing provisions for livestock, shelter and medicinal plants. By the same token, unique forests also include forests that provide special goods and services to the communities that depend on them.

A large number of developing countries have low forest cover both in terms of land area and percentage canopy cover. Furthermore, the crown cover in these countries is under the minimum percentage defined by the relevant international bodies. Their national forest cover is assessed to be insufficient in terms of the percentage of area of forest cover per capita or proportion of world forest resources contained within the country, among other measures. According to the FAO estimations, nearly three quarters of the world's countries have less than one hectare (ha) of forest cover per inhabitant. Approximately 25 per cent of the countries or areas covered by FAO forest resource assessment (FAO, 1995) have less than 0.07 ha of forest per capita and 50per cent have less than 0.25 ha per capita.

While the scarcity of forest goods and services available to support sustainable development and hence forest per capita and security in the provision of forest goods and services, are among the most important issues, such countries produce few forest goods and services and often depend greatly on other countries, most notably for wood and fibre but also for other forest goods and services. The challenge is to achieve security in forest goods and services for each person, each nation and the globe. Therefore is a need, among others, to identify which forest products (wood and non- - wood, commercial and non-commercial) and forest services are scarce in the forest poor countries and how to improve and sustain their supply.

This has implications for the production of goods and services at the global level. The scarcity of forest goods and services is a global problem, and the international assistance for the improvement of forest security in terms of meeting the specific needs and requirements of developing countries with low forest cover should be a priority in order to achieve sustainable development at all levels. In this connection the creation of a conductive environment for the economic and social development is imperative.

A variety of factors contribute to low forest cover, including low original endowment, historical deforestation, and current pressures on land use. But the relative importance of these vary with both country and region within a country and, also, between countries, which require urgent action at national and international levels.

Low forest cover and efforts to expand the forest cover are closely interrelated with other global environmental concerns such as desertfication, biological diversity, and carbon seq. Consequently, actions for addressing low forest cover greatly contribute to international efforts for conserving biological diversity, climate change and combating desertification.

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Factors contributing to low forest cover

Almost all developing countries with LFC are located in the regions of the world, which are climatically unsuited to support forest cover. In these countries, what forests are may be restricted to pockets of more favorable growing conditions, such as fog- bound mountain tops or oasis areas with high water tables. Many low forest cover countries (LFCCs) were deforested due to exploitation before the twentieth century, the fate of their forests depended upon a combination of factors related to climate, location, political control and colonialism, as well as on demands for agricultural lands and forest products. Population trends, institutional controls, shipbuilding industry, war and instability are but some of the other factors responsible for the of forests in the past.

A few LFCCs once had a substantial endowment o original forest that has been depleted more recently by exploitation and demands for conversion to other land uses. This is particularly true of countries in which the total land area per capita is relatively restricted so that possibilities of expanding onto non- forested land are reduced.


[Contents] [Introduction] [Low Forest Cover] [Current Trends]
[Information Requirements] [Approaches and policy Options]
[Summery Of IPE Report On Low Forest Cover] [Proposals For Action]