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Socioeconomic development and wood consumption


To show the relationship between socioeconomic development and wood consumption for the investigation of future changes in wood demand in countries where socioeconomic development is expected, we analyzed panel data on per capita GDP, the human development index (HDI), and other factors in relation to per capita wood consumption for 33 OECD and 6 BRIICS countries. An increasing linear trend was found between per capita GDP and per capita consumption for sawn wood. However, the consumption declined over time when the same economic level was attained. In the case of plywood, reconstituted panels, and paper/paperboard, the results suggest that an environmental Kuznets curve, represented as an inverted-U curve, exists between per capita GDP and per capita consumption, confirming a tendency for consumption to reach saturation and then decline as economic development progresses. For wood fuel, an increasing linear trend was confirmed between economic level and per capita consumption, indicating the recent promotion of biofuel in developed countries. However, economic level alone might not be sufficient for explaining the demand for wood. The consumption of sawn wood, plywood, reconstituted panels, and paper/paperboard declined over time for a given HDI level. Rising population density and urbanization can contribute to a decrease in per capita wood consumption, whereas the larger the country’s forest area, the greater per capita wood consumption. In particular, there is an increasing tendency to use the latest forms of wood fuel under sustainable forest management.

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This research was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 26870181, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council Project, Development of Climate Change Mitigation Technologies in the field of Forests and Forestry (2010–2014), and the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (S-11-2) of the Ministry of the Environment.

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Correspondence to Chihiro Kayo.

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Kayo, C., Oka, H., Hashimoto, S. et al. Socioeconomic development and wood consumption. J For Res 20, 309–320 (2015).

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  • Environmental Kuznets curve
  • Forest area
  • Human development index
  • Panel data analysis
  • Per capita GDP