Institute of

International Forestry and Forest Economics


Anna Frerck
Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics

Leuschnerstraße 91
21031 Hamburg-Bergedorf
Phone: +49 40 739 62 301
Fax: +49 40 739 62 399

Article on supplementing international statistics in the pulp and paper sector


There are numerous indications of data gaps and errors in the international database of the FAO regarding figures on the production and trade of wood and paper products. In particular, we have investigated inconsistencies in the data on recovered pulp production and developed a solution to supplement the statistics.

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To resolve the inconsistencies in this product area, we have developed national pulp and paper balances for the major pulp and paper producing and consuming countries. This involves comparing the input of wood fibers (virgin pulp and recovered pulp) with the output (paper products). By doing so, the amount of recovered pulp production, which is considered the most inaccurate position on the balance sheet, can be determined as a residual volume. Furthermore, we can also use this method to determine the composition of paper production in terms of the proportions of virgin fibers and recovered fibers.

Our analyses show that only 7.6 percent of all countries in the international database of the FAO have plausible data on recovered pulp production. We calculated a mean recovered pulp production of 2.5 million tons. In contrast, the mean reported recovered pulp production of the countries investigated amounts to only 0.8 million tons. The share of recovered pulp in the paper production of the countries investigated varies between 4.1 % and 84.4 % and is 44.4 % on average.

  • Jochem D, Bösch M, Weimar H, Dieter M (2021) National wood fiber balances for the pulp and paper sector: An approach to supplement international forest products statistics. Forest Pol Econ 131:102540, DOI:10.1016/j.forpol.2021.102540