Forestry statistics: a quick guide

20 April 2017

PDF version [254KB]

Patrick Nykiel
Statistics and Mapping Section


This guide provides a quick overview of data sources for key statistics relating to the Forestry sector–production, trade and employment. Two primary sources of relevant statistics are released regularly. ABARES (the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences) publishes Australian Forest and Wood Products Statistics biannually, which includes a quarterly breakdown covering production, trade and employment data. ABARES also publishes a snapshot of additional statistics, including detailed forest cover measures, in the State of the Forests report released every five years.

Production statistics

ABARES’ Australian Forest and Wood Products Statistics (AFWPS) overview and associated tables are the primary source for production related statistics.

Available statistics

Statistics relating to production include:

  • Plantation area by type and state (Item 4)
  • Value of logs harvested by type (Item 7) and state (Item 8b)
  • Volume of logs harvested by state, forest type and log type (Item 8a)
  • Annual wood product production (Item 11)
  • Sawn wood production by state (Item 12)

Forestry trade statistics

AFWPS includes trade statistics collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. One term to note with a specific meaning in these tables is ‘Secondary Wood Products’ which refers to furniture, prefabricated buildings, printed articles and similar products. The Parliamentary Library can also provide detailed trade statistics on request.

Available statistics

Trade statistics are divided into imports and exports. The AFWPS summary tables offer:

  • Imports Summary (Item 23)
  • Exports Summary (Item 24)
  • Imports by selected countries–China, Canada, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, NZ, USA (Item 25)
  • Exports by selected countries–China, Taiwan, HK, Japan, Malaysia, NZ, Rep. of Korea (Item 26)
  • Secondary Wood Product Imports (Item 28)
  • Secondary Wood Product Exports (Item29)

Fine detail statistics are available in the import and export tables:

  • Imports of Wood Products by quantity and volume with state and import country breakdowns (Item 30-49)
  • Exports of Wood Products by quantity and volume with state and export country breakdowns(Item 50-66)

Forest coverage statistics

Forest coverage is a subjective measure due to differing definitions of what constitutes forest. To ensure consistency, data is collated and centralised into the National Forest Inventory (NFI). Given the complexity of the data collection and processing which uses a spatial dataset, statistics are only released every five years (2013 being the most recent). Improvements in measurement and processing algorithms that have come with increasing spatial resolution make the statistics between years difficult to compare. The spatial dataset ‘Forests of Australia’ is publically available and mapping products can be generated by the Parliamentary Library on request.

The purpose of the State of the Forests Report is to report internationally on sustainable forestry management. The report criteria and indicators are modified from the original set developed within the Montreal Process which arose from the 1992 Rio Convention. As a result the statistics are oriented toward demonstrating progress toward these criteria and indicators for sustainable management.

Available statistics

The State of the Forests Report and associated tables offer the following relevant statistics for Australia broken down by state:

  • Area of Forest by Type and Tenure (Indicator 1.1a,b)
  • Area of Native Forest available for wood production (Indicator 2.1a)
  • Annual removal of wood products compared with sustainable yield (Indicator 2.1c)

Employment statistics

The ABS is the primary source for employment information, which can be provided at the state level. These figures are estimates based on Labour Force, and Census reporting. The AFWPS republishes this annual data as a time series.

Available statistics

The Parliamentary Library can provide statistics on industry employment compared with a variety of Census measured variables as required.

The AFWPS reports both Labour Force statistics for the Forestry Sector as well as the Australian Industry Survey Results:

  • Labour Force by sub industry (Item 16a)
  • Australian Industry Survey by sub industry (Item 16b)


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