The forest industry is a major source of growth and employment. In many countries the sector contributes more than 10% to GDP and provides formal and informal employment in developing countries for an estimated 40 to 60 million people. Many developing countries
also rely on timber for export earnings. Over 90% of people living in extreme poverty depend on forests for some part of their livelihoods (World Bank, 2004a). But global forest cover has been reduced by at least 20% since pre‐agricultural
times. While forest area has increased slightly since 1980 in industrial countries, it has declined by almost 10% in developing countries (WRI, 2000).