A third of the Earth’s land area is forest

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Finland’s share of the world’s growing stock volume on forest land is approximately half a percent, but within the EU Finland is a significant forest country with its ten percent share.

In the world, there is approximately a little more than half a hectare of forest area per inhabitant. In Finland, there is over four hectares of forest per inhabitant.

Europe’s forest area has grown during the past few years, but especially in South America and Africa the forest area is decreasing. The diminution of the world’s forest area has, however, slowed down in the 21st century due to forest planting and the expansion of natural forests.

At the moment, the forest area decreases approximately 0.2 percent (a little more than 7 million hectares) a year. In Asia, the forest area has started to increase, according to the information gathered during the last decade.

Over half of the felled forest is burnt as firewood in households mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In Africa, almost 90 percent of felled forest is used as firewood, whereas in Finland the figure is only a little less than 10 percent. The rest of the wood is utilised as building material and as the raw material of the chemical forest industry.

The wood product industry uses approximately a third of all wood worldwide. The share of the pulp and paper industry is a little over 19 percent.  The world’s largest producer of forest industry products is the United States, where also the largest amount of wood is used.

Unlike in Finland, elsewhere in the world states and public organizations are significant forest owners. They own 84 percent of the world’s forests. The share of private forest owners is 13 percent and of others 2 percent. Private forest owners consist of private companies as well as private persons and families.