18 January 2008

National wood balances - Empirical data gathering on current sources and uses of wood, focusing on wood energy

Time 31st March – 1st April 2008 (back-to-back with the Joint FAO/UNECE Working Party on Forest Economics and Statistics, 2nd-3rd April 2008)
Venue Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Wood is currently the major source for renewable energy in Europe. With increasing global prices for fossil fuels, concerns over security of energy supply and new commitments to reduce CO2 emissions, wood energy continues to increase in importance. Facing these challenges, and also the wood-processing industries’ increasing need for woody raw material, has led to an acute need for up-to-date, reliable statistical information on wood sources and uses, which is either not available, or weak in many countries.
The recently conducted Joint UNECE/FAO/IEA/EC Wood Energy Enquiry has started a process to collect improved information on sources and uses for wood energy on a comparable Europe-wide basis. This has permitted the creation of national and European-level wood balances (study on “wood resources availability and demands”).
However, the analytical work following on from the study on wood availability and demands has also identified significant and persistent data gaps and inconsistencies which still need to be resolved. Empirical research, such as household and industry surveys, is the main tool to gather basic data on wood sources, needed to close these gaps and improve data and statistics. Knowing the current sources (from forests and other sources) and uses of wood is the main basis for assessing the future potential for wood, which is crucial for planning and decision-making related not only to the forest-based sector as a whole but also for the renewable energy sector.

The workshop will:
· Review the verified results of the background paper to the UNECE/FAO Policy Forum (10 Oct 2007) on “Wood resources availability and demands”, and discuss its conclusions and findings on data gaps and weaknesses
· Outline a framework (priorities, best practices, resources) for empirical research in countries in the UNECE region to share and improve data on wood sources and uses, including on wood energy.
· Discuss and coordinate efforts to fund research activities Content
· Present and discuss up-dated figures of the study "wood resources availability and demands - implications of renewable energy policies": The report assesses current (2005) figures for wood sources and uses, and analyses renewable energy policies and their significance in terms of demand for wood.
· Identify gaps and inconsistencies in the results of the study on a priority basis, indicating whether and, if so, how these might be filled
· Introduce and discuss existing methodologies for empirical research on wood sources and uses, including on wood energy. Different countries will introduce their respective approaches and share their experiences
· Introduce and discuss the "wood resource balance", a tool to compare wood supply and use, and thereby highlight possible data gaps.
· Explain and discuss the importance of conversion factors (product input/output, equivalent wood in the rough), in particular in connection with the wood balance. Ways to explore these conversion factors will be explored.

· Define a definitive version of the study on “wood availability resources availability and demands”
· Develop a rolling work programme on the topic of “wood availability and demand” including empirical research, based on these discussions
· Identify potential resources and partners for the work programme The workshop will be immediately followed by the 30th session of the Joint FAO/UNECE Working Party on Forest Economics and Statistics (2-3 April), where a summary of the workshop and its results will be presented. In connection to the workshop, the Working Party will hold an in-session seminar on potential wood supply.

Target audience
· Experts in research on different sources of wood supply (forest resources), wood use (forest products), and/or wood energy
· Experts interested in wood balances, wood flow models
· Correspondents from countries (ministries for forests and energy) and forest services interested in empirical research
· Interested stakeholders from forest owners, forest management, industry and bioenergy interested in empirical research and improvement of data and statistics

Registration information and documents will be posted on the website: