Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 1063–1078

Global wood production from natural forests has peaked

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10531-014-0633-6

Cite this article as:
Warman, R.D. Biodivers Conserv (2014) 23: 1063. doi:10.1007/s10531-014-0633-6


Wood is considered to be a renewable resource. However, steep increases in production followed by a peak and subsequent decline have been characteristic of natural forest-based wood industries in many countries. An assessment was made to determine any discernible global trend in wood extraction from natural forests. This was done using published data on global production from various wood sources, including plantations, planted forests and trees outside forests. Global wood supply from natural forests peaked around 1989 and has been in decline since. A growing planted tree supply has been making up the gap between total roundwood demand and natural forest supply. These data suggest a declining role for natural forests in global wood production, with the long term sustainability of wood supply derived from purpose-cultivated trees rather than natural forest sources. Where these planted trees lower demand for wood from natural forests this will provide opportunities to reduce resource conflict in natural forests, apply more precautionary prescriptions where logging does occur, and increase the use of natural forests for biodiversity conservation and other ecosystem services such as carbon storage.


Wood production Forest Conservation Plantation Ecosystem services 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and Environmental StudiesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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