7.2. What strategies could help protecting forests?
7.2.1. To limit forest loss, logging bans have appeared
in some countries. Thailand and China for instance in the 1990s
imposed complete logging bans. Bans prevent excessive exploitation
but results have been mixed. The livelihoods of local people may
be hurt, and logging pressures may simply increase in neighboring
7.2.2. Principles of sustainability have increasingly been
included in forest management. This may include maintaining forest
biodiversity, productivity and regeneration capacity. In practice
though the principles are not always followed. The World Bank has
been criticized for making loans which encourage deforestation.
Although they are developing a Forest Policy Strategy, they’ve
been accused of not enforcing it. More...
7.2.3. What are some alternative management technologies
• Alternative silviculture systems
‘Ecological forestry’ or ‘New
forestry’ tries to mimic natural processes in forest ecosystems.
In Germany the ‘Lübeck model’ has successfully
harvested timber with minimal ecosystem interference, low costs,
and community participation. The technique requires careful inventories
of trees and habitat, and the preservation of some areas. The principles
and techniques of ecological forestry have mainly been tested on
a small scale but results have been positive. More...
Agroforestry is the inclusion of trees in a farming
system. As it can reduce the pressure on remaining forests and has
environmental benefits, it is considered to be an important regional
strategy in forest management. The integration of trees on farms
diversifies production, however, agroforestry is not a substitute
for forest ecosystems. More...
• Revisiting indigenous forest management
There is a growing awareness of the way in which
different ethnic and cultural groups have managed their forests.
These non-conventional or indigenous forest management systems include
agroforestry as well as selective harvesting, protection of trees
for ritual purposes, and ‘enrichment planting’. These
often included non-timber forest products such as herbs and plants
for weaving. The UN’s ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Forests’
is encouraging interest in indigenous forest management systems
and the University of British Columbia has introduced its study
in the forestry curriculum. In Asia also, there is growing interest
in the management of forests before the introduction of Western
forestry systems. It has been noted that such forests can attract
• Joint Management / Partnerships
The concentration of decision-making about forest
resources in state and government agencies far removed from the
ground can lead to ineffective forest management. This can be worsened
by conflicts with local communities. Hence there have been experiments
with community partnering, in which communities partake in the management
of forests, either independently or jointly with state agencies.
These are meant to address social deprivation as well as deforestation
by ensuring locals have a stake in the long-term survival and productivity
of the forest. It is difficult to estimate the extent of community-based
forest management given the number of different models. More...
• Carbon trading
Concern about global climate change is raising the
prospect of managing forests as carbon reservoirs (or sinks) to
reduce carbon dioxide emissions. If international trade in ‘carbon
sink credits’ is realized, it would be an incentive to conserve
forests. The Kyoto protocol of the UNFCCC includes targets to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by for instance establishing large-scale
tree plantations to sequester the carbon dioxide. Critics of the
protocol argue that trees and soils will release the carbon anyway
and that the protocol undervalues old trees that store carbon more
Timber production is often not sustainable when
driven by normal market forces whereby producers maximize profits
by minimizing costs. But consumers’ awareness of environmental
and deforestation issues is growing and they are increasingly willing
to pay a premium for sustainably produced timber and wood products.
‘Certified’ timber comes from a forest that meets certain
environmental, economic and social standards. The Forest Stewardship
Council (FSC) runs a credible and independently audited system.
As of January 2003, it had awarded 466 Forest Management Certificates
in 56 countries. The WWF and NRDC support certification because
it promotes environmentally responsible forestry practices, protects
the forest heritage and ensures the long-term health and productivity
of forests. Other certification systems exist, like the PEFC or
the SFI, but a key difference is that the monitoring is exercised
by the forest and wood products industry itself. The ENN has compared
the FSC and PEFC scheme and concluded that the latter, which was
funded by the forest industry, only provides a framework for mutual
recognition of national forest certification (it doesn’t accredit
certifying organizations itself). More...