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February 2016                                                                                       
A tropical forest dwelling in the Mache-Chindul Ecological Reserve, Ecuador, where ITTO Project RED-SPD 055/11 Rev.3 was implemented with the aim of improving the livelihoods of local communities. Photo: Amy E. Rogers

Forests at the top

Dear reader,

2015 was an important year for forests worldwide, with the historic agreement on climate change struck in Paris in December putting forests at the top of the environmental agenda. For its part, ITTO continued to innovate in developing policies and tools for SFM in the tropics, and this edition of Tropical Forest News recaps some of these.
ITTO was involved in the development of two new websites in 2015, one aimed at expanding knowledge and information on lesser-used timber species and the other at increasing the availability of information on legal timber trade. The Organization released publications on, for example, timber markets, forest restoration, life-cycle assessments, training in timber processes, and ecotourism.
This edition of Tropical Forest News also reports on the new funds pledged for tropical forests at the most recent session of the International Tropical Timber Council, ITTO Fellowship awards, vacancies in ITTO and other forest-related organizations, and events forthcoming in 2016.
I wish you enjoyable reading.
Steve Johnson

International Tropical Timber Council pledges US$3.7 million 

At its 51st session, which closed on 21 November 2015, the International Tropical Timber Council announced new funding of US$3.7 million for ITTO’s Biennial Work Programme 2015–2016, project work, and the Freezailah Fellowship Fund. Read more
Fellowships awarded in 2015 autumn cycle

Eighteen ITTO Fellowships were awarded in the 2015 autumn cycle to eleven female and seven male recipients from 14 countries, at a total value of US$100 000. Read more
New forest-related websites
  • ITTO launched this website dedicated to expanding the use of lesser-used tropical timber species with the aim of facilitating access to existing technical information on species’ availability, wood properties, uses and processing into value-added wood products., which is targeted at timber businesses and consumers worldwide, enables searches of tropical timber species by use, properties and substitution; timber availability and sourcing; tree and wood identification; species distribution and abundance; and substitution of well-known species. Read more
  • with support from ITTO, the European Timber Trade Federation launched this online information platform to enhance and facilitate legal trade in (mainly tropical) timber. Read more
ITTO publications

Europe’s changing tropical timber trade: this baseline report was prepared under the FLEGT Independent Market Monitoring initiative to determine the state of EU markets for wood products before the issuance of import licences under the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade programme. 

ITTO’s 2016 calendar is now available for download.

Publications from ITTO-funded projects and activities

Assessing the ITTO guidelines for the restoration, management and rehabilitation of degraded secondary tropical forests. Case studies of Ghana, Indonesia and Mexico: ITTO commissioned this report from the World Resources Institute as part of its contribution to the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration to increase understanding of the factors involved in successful forest and landscape restoration and rehabilitation in the tropics. 

Technical report on the life-cycle assessment for environmental product declarations of ipe and cumaru decking strips produced in Brazil: this report, the third output of an activity under the ITTO Biennial Work Programme, was carried out in response to new requirements in international timber markets for environmentally responsible construction materials.

Woodflooring: Brazilian species characteristics: this publication, which is available in English and Portuguese, provides information on 13 commercial and 14 lesser-used timber species in Brazil’s tropical forests, such as their anatomical, physical and mechanical properties and their suitability for woodflooring. The book is a direct output of ITTO Project PD 433/06 Rev.3 (I) implemented by the National Hardwood Flooring Association of Brazil. Other publications from the project address the management of wood residues, the woodflooring quality certification programme, and woodflooring installation. Read more

Study on investigation and assessment techniques of tropical forest ecotourism resources in Diaoluoshan National Forest Park: this publication is an output of ITTO Project RED-SPD 075/12 Rev.1 (F) implemented by the Chinese Academy of Forestry aimed at enhancing environmental services and local livelihoods in Hainan Province through ecotourism. 

Manual for in-house raining on wood-sawing, kiln-drying, ply-milling, saw- doctoring, mill management, and further processing of timbers from tropical Africa, which is available in English and French, is an output of ITTO Project PD 700/13 Rev.2 (I), phase I, stage 1, which aims to further develop the intra-African trade and the processing of timber and timber products.
Tropical Forest Update
The latest edition of the Tropical Forest Update presents the Voluntary guidelines for the sustainable management of natural tropical forests, which fully update guidelines first published in 1990. With forests now at the top of the global environmental agenda due to the historic agreement on climate change struck in France in December 2015, the Voluntary Guidelines are just as relevant as ever.

Read the latest TFU

Top tropical timber market headlines

The latest report by ITTO’s Market information Service features the following news items:
  • Brazil’s wood product exports at highest level since 2007
  • Prospects for West and Central African exports unclear
  • Ratify Trade Facilitation Agreement, says Ghana Chamber of Commerce
  • Pace of chain-of-custody certification in Malaysia applauded
  • New timber tax in Myanmar
  • Home sales fall in major Indian cities
  • Sales of high-priced homes rise in Japan but prices for cheaper homes fall
  • Tax refund for Chinese panel producers
  • Healthy growth in EU tropical timber imports in 2015
Subscribe to the Tropical Timber Market Report (published every two weeks).


ITTO is an intergovernmental organization promoting the conservation and sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources. Its members represent the bulk of the world's tropical forests and of the global tropical timber trade.
Read more about ITTO
Vacancies at ITTO

ITTO Executive Director: deadline for applications is 30 April 2016.
Call for proposals at ITTO
Upcoming ITTO Events

Third Asia-Pacific Forestry Week
22–26 February 2016
Clark Freeport Zone, Philippines
Regional workshop to exchange experiences and lessons learned on industrial and trade development of tropical timber and timber products in Africa (PD 700/13 Rev. 2 (I), phase 1, stage 1).
24-26 February 2016
Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
International Day of Forests
21 March 2016
Regional Conference on Biodiversity Conservation in Tropical Forests of Greater Mekong Sub-region
23–25 March 2016
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Caribbean Workshop on Forest Products Statistics organized jointly by ITTO, FAO and CABI
12–14 April 2016
St Augustine, in Trinidad and Tobago
52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council and Associated Sessions of the Committees
7–12 November 2016
Yokohama, Japan

Other forest related vacancies

The following vacancies have recently been announced by the FAO Forestry Department:
ITTO Publications and other media

Tropical Forest Update

Tropical Timber Market Information Service

Annual reports

Review of the world timber situation

Technical reports

Policy papers, manuals, & guidelines

Publicity materials

Video (YouTube channel)
ITTO online project search tool

ITTO’s online project search tool aims to further disseminate, capitalize on and enhance the knowledge gained in SFM through the implementation of more than 1000 projects, pre-projects and activities since the Organization began operations in 1986. Such knowledge is now just a few clicks away at the ITTO website. Go to project search
Selected forest-related websites
European Timber Trade Federation
EU-FLEGT interactive map
Form International
Guatemala Forest Information System (SIGUA)
Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration
United Nations Forum on Forests
UN Climate Change Newsroom
ITTO home page