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Forestry in East Asia and Pacific

Quick Facts


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World Bank data from 2006
or most recent year
( in italics, 2002-2006)


Forestry is the art and science of managing forest land and resources to produce a flow of socially and economically valued goods and services. Good forest management is the purposeful, planned, and accountable use of forest resources to pursue socially endorsed goals and objectives. Genuinely sustainable management must be built on good governance, accountable institutions, and sound policies.

Forest resources in East Asia and Pacific (EAP) are not contributing as they should to poverty reduction, economic and social development, or environmental sustainability. To the contrary, forests are subject to increasing degradation, fragmentation, and destruction.

The failures of forestry are rooted in perverse policies and bad governance and the lack of disciplined and science-based management.


The key current issues facing the forest sector of the region include:

1. Globalization and China's Rapid Growth
From being a relatively minor factor until the last decade, in fewer than 10 years China has become the world’s largest importer of industrial roundwood and the second largest importer of forest  products. The controversy spawned by this growth relates to both the illegal and unsustainable origins of much of the regional wood supply, and to the contemporaneous adoption by China of strict controls on logging.

2. Timber Theft
Forests in East Asia are subject to unprecedented levels of illegal logging, arson and uncontrolled conversion. Illegal activity,which is enabled and fueled by the absence of effective management, is a leading factor in the loss of forests and the degradation of the remaining resource.While concerted efforts to detect and suppress illegal logging are needed, timber theft prevention is the basic need.

3. Deforestation and Land Degradation
Developing countries in EAP are losing 2.4 million hectares(ha) or approximately 0.6 percent of the region’s forest cover per year, almost three times the global rate. A notable exception is China, whose forest areas are growing through reforestation.While some forest conversions are to valued and sustainable uses, the fate of much of the deforested area is degradation. Of the region’s total land area of approximately 1.5 billion ha, approximately 200 million ha already are degraded and more than 2 million ha of forest land become degraded every year.

4. Perverse Forest Financing
A lack of due diligence behind private-sector financing of forest industry in EAP countries  has contributed to a  build-up of unsustainable demand on the forest resource base.

5. Decentralization
With notable exceptions, virtually all countries in the EAP region treat forest land ownership as a prerogative and responsibility of the national government. Central government control deepens the problem of ensuring meaningful involvement of local people and indigenous communities in forest management decisions, but experiments with decentralization do not seem to have produced sustainable or productive results either.


Since 1970, the World Bank has invested more than US$2.7 billion in 43 forestry operations in EAP countries. Its program of investment lending, conditionality-linked development policy lending and dialogue, and supporting technical assistance and economic and sector work makes the World Bank the single largest source of development finance to forestry in the region.

Much of the Bank’s established forestry program directly relevant to the drivers of change listed above. Specifically, the Bank has been or is:

  • Financing the establishment of over 3.5 million ha of forest plantations to reduce demands on natural forests of timber-producing countries.
  • Supporting approximately 2.1 million ha of parks and protected areas in eight countries to help conserve and manage biodiversity across the region.
  • Convening the highest levels of leadership to secure commitments to strengthen forest governance and to more effectively control illegal logging and other forest crimes.
  • Addressing forces that are driving deforestation and unsustainable land use conversions while strengthening local development capacities through its overall rural development operations and land administration projects and its family of community-driven development and community-based natural resource management projects.
  • Developing and demonstrating fiduciary due diligence and corporate responsibility practices through its own environmental and social safeguards, and the economic and financial sector reforms advocated through many diverse policy and investment operations to help prevent inadvertent negative impacts of development in other sectors on forests.

Learn more through the  East Asia region Forestry Strategy
See  all Bank projects in the region that address forestry issues

Publications and Reports

EA Forestry Strategy

bullet squareEast Asia Region Forestry Strategy   
CONSULTATION - This is a draft for consultation, we would like to hear your comments  

bullet squareIndonesia Forest Strategy
bullet squareLessons from Tree Planting in Mongolia
bullet squareWood Supply in Mongolia: the Legal and Illegal Economies

  Data icon  All related reports

Projects & Programs
bullet squareForest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG)in East Asia

Data icon  All related projects

bullet squareWorld Bank news on Forestry - worldwide
Related sites
bullet squareThe World Bank and Forestry
bullet squareFLEG in Europe & North Asia
bullet squareFLEG in Africa
bullet squareIssue brief: the Bank and Forestry
bullet squareWorld Wildlife Fund - Forestry
bullet square Program on Forests (PROFOR)

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