Importance of Forests
Forests cover 30% of the global land area or about 4 billion hectares. This equates to around 0.6 hectare per person. However, forests are not evenly distributed and five countries (the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States and China) account for more than half the total forest area.

Throughout history, the competition between forested and agricultural land has been intense. Deforestation is a major problem today as we lose around 13 million hectares of forested land each year. This includes the loss of just over 8 million hectares per year in South America and Africa collectively.

Conserving our Forests
Over the past three decades, we have witnessed the emergence of sustainable forest management promoting stewardship of forest lands in order to maintain their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential, now and in the future.

This interactive and open educational resource explores the multiple uses of forests for wood production, as hunting grounds, as recreational areas and as the protection of biodiversity.

We can understand how the forest scientist views forests as a natural resource to be managed. How the forest economist understands the forest as an economic resource or a property. Forests are part of the natural capital of nations.

A policy-maker, on the other hand, emphasizes the relationship between society and forests, and seeks to manage the conflicting interests between different stakeholders (private industry, public agencies, non-governmental bodies and the general population.

This open educational resource has been designed as to improve your understanding of forestry, market economics and forest economics including concepts related to forest policy. On completion, you should be able to better understand the interconnections between forest economics and policies (past and present).

Using this Open Educational Resource
This learning resource has been designed for students enrolled in an MSc Course on Forestry Policy through a network of universities in the Western Balkans.

It is available for use in similar programmes across the globe and provides an overview of some of the key theoretical concepts and practice in the area of forestry, economics and policy-making.

Designed for students in the tertiary education (graduate and post-graduate) and for professionals and practitioners.

Design and Technology
Developed using Wordpress with a customized plug-in support for the creation of multi-choice quizzes, footnotes as well as image captions. Contains narrated animations using Flash Video. Compatibility tested with Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

Olli Saastamoinen and Jukka Matero from the University of Joensuu.

Copyright License
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0

Project Title
Contribution to the Forest Policy and Economics Education and Research (FOPER) project

Copyright 2007 - 2013 United Nations University

Brought to you by theUnu Media Studio