The FAO Forestry Department promotes, among others, the responsible use of wood as an environmentally friendly raw material. In the last decades, wood and wood-based products have been faced with stronger competition from substitute materials, such as plastics, concrete, steel, glass or aluminium, as these materials appear to offer wider options to the customers. Some of the factors that can influence customers’ decisions on what kind of end products to acquire include marketing efforts, product prices, quality, durability and image.

FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for such permission should be addressed to the Chief, Publishing and Multimedia Service, Information Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy or by e-mail to


Dr Mohammad Scharai-Rad
University of Hamburg, Department of Wood Technology

Dr Johannes Welling
Federal Research Centre for Forestry and Forest Products, Hamburg

Rome, 2002

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