logo1.gif (733 bytes)

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

 Developed by UNEP and IUFRO

Abstract: The Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) identified countries of Low Forest Cover (LFC) as being of special concern. Unfortunately, LFC was not defined. The International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) requested that its members undertake a short term study to develop a definition of LFC. This paper covers some of the problems involved with developing a definition and offers four different options. An eigenvalue analysis indicates that the classifications of countries based upon a combination of variables (area of Forest and Other Wooded Lands, Original Forest Land, and Population) is a good first attempt.

Keywords: Forest, Low Forest Cover, Original Forest, Forest and Other Wooded Lands



The Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) recognized that there are both developed and developing countries with low forest cover. Low forest cover can arise as a result of natural ecological conditions, as well as of human activities and the situation is constantly changing. Some countries are actively expanding their forest cover, while others are approaching qualification for entry into the low forest category.

The restricted area of forests in countries with low forest cover results in reduced capacity for the production of timber and for the provision of goods and services, including the protection of watersheds, the supply of fuelwood, the maintenance of biological diversity and endemic species, and recreation and amenity. Moreover, many of the forest types in those countries are distinctive or even rare, and require national protective measures and international support, while the proportion included in nationally designated protected areas is often below average.

The International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the development of a workable and precise definition of low forest cover in agreement with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) . The definition which would then be ready for the IFF III meeting in Geneva in May 1999 as a IUFRO contribution, even though presented through UNEP. The definition is to be applicable to all countries and suitable for use in the forest resource assessment in the year 2000.

The IUFRO Secretariat asked Research Group 4.02 "Forest Resource Inventory and Monitoring" to take on the job and prepare a report entitled "Countries with Low Forest Cover" containing: a workable and precise definition of the term low forest cover, applicable to all countries and suited for use in the forest resources assessment in the year 2000; a list of countries with low forest cover, based on the definition, option/ways for improving the productivity, conservation and monitoring of countries with low forest cover, taking into account the social and cultural dimensions. The deadline for the report was November 30, 1998.

IUFRO‘s SilvaVoc project and Working Party 6.03.02 "Trends in Forest Terminology" provided assistance by compiling information on existing definitions, and by setting up a short-term discussion to provide additional "food for thought." The input and discussions may be viewed at


[Introcuction][General Findings][An Analysis of Possible Definition]
[Some Final Notes
[Appendix 1-Basic Data For Low Forest Ccver Analyse]