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Research Report

How to Know More about Forests?: Supply and Use of Information for Forest Policy

K. Janz
R. Persson
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2002
Pages: 35
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 3-3)

    This paper is an attempt to set out the authors’ views on the gathering of the information that is required for forest sector policy making. The point is made that forest sector policy is to be seen as an integrated part of overall national policies. The paper builds on ideas presented at the 11th World Forestry Congress (Persson and Janz 1997) and elaborates on them. The views presented are based on observations made during many years of national and international work in the fields of forest inventory and forest policy. It is hoped that this paper will be useful to:...

  2. (pp. 3-3)

    The gathering, analysing and use of information at national and provincial levels is strategic in nature. Its use is in developing, implementing and monitoring national forest sector strategies and policies. There are, as will be shown later, serious shortcomings in the supply and use of the information needed for policy making in the forestry sectors of developing countries (and often also of developed countries). The main weakness is the failure to connect the supply of information to the demand for it. Much information has been gathered not because it was needed but because donors were willing to fund inventories, on...

  3. (pp. 3-7)

    This section deals with shortcomings in the provision and use of information. The first two subsections present general observations (3.1) and specific examples (3.2). Subsection 3.3 discusses the political background and subsection 3.4 provides a summary.

    In 1974 Persson wrote: ‘We know quite a lot about the moon but do not know how much of the world’s surface is covered by forests and woodlands’ (Persson 1974). Since then the quantity and quality of available information has improved in some countries, but has declined in others and is in any case still far from meeting the needs. Information about the status...

  4. (pp. 7-8)

    At the national level the need for information is almost exclusively related to developing forest sector policies and strategies, applying them, and monitoring their effects⁴. Therefore we will discuss the question ‘why’ by examining the role of information in the policy process. We put emphasis on the political process also for the reason that national level information becomes meaningful only if a functioning policy process is in place. Theoretically the policy process should be in place first, with information work coming as a second step. In practice the two are usually developed simultaneously.

    It should also be pointed out that...

  5. (pp. 8-16)

    It is useful at this point to recall that this report deals with information at the national level, and that at this level the main tasks are to draw up national forest policies and strategies, implement them, and monitor the outcome. These tasks require special types of information. It is also useful to remind ourselves that the information needed differs from country to country. Indonesia and Finland are rich in forests, and forest products play a major role in their economies. Information about the effect of political action on the production of industrial wood will be important in both of...

  6. (pp. 16-21)

    Repeatedly in this report concludes there is a need for an ‘analysis unit’ What kind of animal is this? Does it exist in real life? What we mean is a set of functions that link supply and demand for information (or information gathering and policy making) together. The functions can be collected into one administrative unit or spread over several but made to work together. The analysis unit that we have in mind is in close touch with policy making so that it can help in identifying the questions that need to be answered. It is also in close touch...

  7. (pp. 21-22)

    Forest sector policies must be seen as an integrated part of overall national policies. Forest policies cannot be developed in isolation.

    Questions of a policy nature should be identified as the first step. Collection of information (e.g. a National Forest Inventory) follows thereafter.

    In most countries there is need for an analysis of different stakeholders’ interests in improved statistics.

    Countries should recognise the need for policy making and planning for information about use of the forests, change, plantations, trees outside of forests, non-wood forests products and the role of forests for rural communities

    Most countries should establish an analysis unit....