Forests are among the most diverse and widespread ecosystems on earth, and have many functions: they provide timber and other forest products; have cultural values; deliver recreation benefits and ecosystem services, including regulation of soil, air and water; are reservoirs for biodiversity; and act as carbon sinks. The impact from human activities on forest health and on natural forest growth and regeneration raises widespread concern. Many forest resources are threatened by overexploitation, fragmentation, degradation of environmental quality and conversion to other types of land use. The main pressures result from human activities, including agriculture expansion, transport infrastructure development, unsustainable forestry, air pollution and intentional burning of forests.
This indicator refers to the intensity of use of forest resources (timber). This indicator relates actual harvest or tree fellings to annual productive capacity of forests. Annual productive capacity is either a calculated value, such as an annual allowable cut, or an estimate of annual growth for existing stock. National averages may conceal important variations among forests.
Tree fellings are defined as the average annual standing volume of all trees, living or dead, measured over bark (with no minimum diameter) that are cut during the reference period, including the volume of trees or parts of trees that are not removed from forested land, other wooded land and other felling sites. It includes silvicultural and pre-commercial thinnings and cleanings left in the forest, and natural losses that are not recovered. It is measured in thousands of cubic metres.
Gross increase corresponds to the average annual volume of increment of all trees over the reference period of all trees, measured to a minimum diameter breast height (d.b.h) of 0 cm. It includes the increment on trees which have been felled or die during the reference period. It is also measured in thousands of cubic metres.