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Institute of

WF Forestry


Matrix model for wood origins

© Christina Waitkus; Frank Preiß -

A matrix model for tracing the origin of wood-based products

Worldwide, the trade in wood has increased in recent years. Environmental impacts such as forest loss are inextricably linked to the origin of the roundwood. But where does the wood come from?

Background and Objective

Bilateral trade statistics are only partially suitable for determining the environmental impacts in the country of origin that the use of wood products entails in other countries. This is mainly due to the fact that in the increasingly globalized world, wood-based products are often imported as semi-finished or finished products. Our study presents a method that, using matrix algebra, makes it possible to relate the consumption of wood-based products to the original origin of raw wood. Thus, the method can help provide information on consumption-related remote environmental impacts of wood consumption.

Target Group

Policy, Science


To empirically clarify the research question, we created a matrix model. This model can make statements about the actual origin of the wood and paper products consumed in a country.

Data and Methods

Data for 2018 are taken from publicly available databases (FAOSTAT, UN Comtrade).

Our Research Questions

-Where does the raw wood consumed as finished wood and paper products in a given country originally come from?

-Do the main importing countries listed by the countries in their bilateral trade statistics match or differ from the main source countries determined by our method?

Preliminary Results

Our results show the "actual" origin of wood in finished wood and paper products for more than 200 countries in the world. For important consumer countries such as Germany, China and the USA, some significant differences are shown between the most important import countries of wood products according to bilateral trade statistics and the most important countries of origin of raw wood determined with our method.


1.2020 - 12.2022

More Information

Project status: ongoing

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