Based on the above analysis and more general discussions14 about some of the issues raised here, a set of general and specific strategies to promote more sustainable forest management through the use of international aid, have be derived. These are briefly outlined below.
1. It may be unrealistic to expect to reach agreement on what sustainable forest management really means, particularly when the concept includes a wide variety of the goods and services that forests produce. Even the immensely simpler concept of sustainable wood production is open to various interpretations. Therefore, it is probably more pragmatic to focus on the process of improving forest management, particularly by reducing or eliminating clearly unsustainable practices and by promoting an incremental progress towards more sustainable forest practices.
2. Sustainable forest management for wood production is feasible in many ecological, economic and political situations. However, the number and complexity of factors that affect the feasibility of implementing sustainable forest management is such that it is not possible to design clear and certain paths towards improved forest management. There are no obvious recipes of universal validity to promote more sustainable practices in different political, economic and social environments. The forces that influence the management of forests, including: technological processes; environmental and economic conditions; political and social factors; are all likely to be present in most situations. Nevertheless, they are likely to be mixed in many different ways, requiring a combination of measures specifically crafted to respond to local conditions in order to foster improved forest management in any particular case.
3. The promotion of sustainable forest practices requires sound institutions, policies and political support for reform. Institutional strength is perhaps the most essential ingredient required to implement improved forest management through clear rules of the game, effective control over forest resources and the elimination of negative policies and corrupt activities. In countries where these condition are not present, a productive role of international aid is probably that of introducing new ideas, promoting public awareness about the consequences of continuing business as usual and developing institutions. However, because these reforms depend heavily on political factors, it is not easy for international aid institutions to influence them. Mobilization of political forces supporting reform in these cases may take a long time. But abundant experience indicates that the alternative of throwing money at the problem simply does not work when policies and institutions are not adequate. Experiences also shows that lasting policy reforms can not be "bought" by international institutions or effectively imposed through conditionalities (Spears, 1994). On the other hand, in countries where sound policies and institutions exist or where governments are willing to introduce reforms, financial resources can produce an impact.
4. It should be noted that the promotion of improved forest management does not always require large amounts of money. In fact, frequently the opposite may be true: some of the actions to foster better forest management, such as the elimination of subsidies, may save government's money or increase their revenues. Thus, the role of development finance is likely to be less important in terms of providing additional money than in terms of improving governance.
5. Many, perhaps most, of the actions to promote improved forest management will have to aim at sectors other than the forest sector. Also, many of these actions may not be politically palatable. Ensuring more sustainable development may require changes in sectors such as: transportation; mining; and oil exploration. Policy reforms need to be based on a careful assessment of how developments in these sectors will affect different stakeholders because benefits and costs are likely to be distributed unevenly. The initial role of international aid should be that of analysing and disseminating the consequences of inaction, education of the general public and strengthening institutions. Financing may be needed to compensate those that lose as consequence of policy reforms.
6. Frequently it is not necessary to design new models or policy approaches to improve forest management. A more productive approach is likely to be to target policy and institutional failures that are known to exacerbate the proliferation of unsustainable practices.
7. In general, and most fundamentally in forest rich countries, it is imperative to reduce the uncontrolled invasion of public forest resources. Access may be needed, particularly for the rural poor, but under more controlled circumstances. Development finance should support the attainment of a firmer grip on public property rights, land demarcation, land titling and land ownership enforcement. No investments in improved forest management will be sufficiently attractive until the option of unsustainably harvesting valuable wood acquired at nominal prices in public forests is effectively brought to an end.
8. Enhanced forest management plans, policies and projects are only as good as the knowledge upon which they are based. International institutions should support applied research that will provide essential insights about the economic, political, social and technological forces that shape the incentives to improve forest management.
Specific principles to promote more sustainable practices have been derived for broadly defined forest types and these are described below.
1) Promote zoning and identify lands that will be dedicated for timber production and for protection purposes. Protect areas of high environmental value.
2) Develop concession policies in a participatory and transparent manner that emphasise more sustainable management principles, provide for stiff penalties for non compliance and reduce opportunities for corruption. Promote third-party independent assessments.
3) Eliminate subsidies in the forest and other sectors that induce unsustainable forest practices. In particular, eliminate policies that link unsustainable methods and deforestation with the acquisition of land ownership.
4) Promote the adoption of impact assessment of development activities in sectors that are likely to have a considerable impact on forest resources such as transportation, agriculture and cattle ranching.
5) Recognize and support traditional and community management schemes. Support the rights of indigenous peoples.
6) Develop policies that induce off-farm employment.
7) Promote incentives to farmers that adopt more intensive and sustainable technologies and that reduce the need to expand the agricultural frontier.
8) Design policies that will reduce the difference between the financial and economic returns of more sustainable forest management.
9) Design mechanisms to organize producer groups to develop markets for wood and non-wood forest products.
10) Strengthen forest management institutions.
11) Raise awareness in the general public and in decision-making levels of government of the consequences of inaction, of the costs of continuing unsustainable practices.
1) Promote participatory zoning involving forest dependent communities and indigenous groups.
2) Develop policies to protect indigenous forest dwelling communities land, forest access and forest harvesting rights.
3) Support the development of markets for non-wood products, including ecotourism.
4) Establish large protected areas in high biodiversity and low opportunity cost regions and taking into account indigenous peoples' traditional rights.
5) Develop mechanisms to capture the global values of forests and to use the proceeds for better forest management and protection.
6) Dedicate large efforts to improve the policy framework and strengthen the administrative apparatus of the state and its capacity for enforcement. Promote open and transparent decision-making and third party independent verification and monitoring. Support governments' contracting services to private companies, communities and other institutions.
7) Rationalize and co-ordinate policies in other sectors, e.g. mining; oil and gas; agriculture; hydropower development; and transportation, which affect the management of forest resources.
8) Develop alliances of international institutions and NGOs that are interested in promoting a better policy and institutional framework for improved forest management.
9) Introduce methods to analyse the impact on forests of macroeconomic and sectoral policies.
10) Support efforts to rationalize concession policies based on participatory and open processes, preferably involving third party independent assessments of the value of the resource, transparent allocation methods and clear and easily verifiable rules of the game. Establish clear penalty procedures for non-compliance including blacklisting of unscrupulous companies.
11) Promote the adoption of codes of conduct among private corporations.
1) Reform policies based on a through analysis of household perceptions of the value of forest and tree resources and of strategies for their sustainable management.
2) Support community-based forest management, joint management schemes and the proliferation of trees outside forests.
3) Support the development of small-scale enterprises that would depend on tree resources, thus providing incentives for sustainable management.
4) Strengthen government institutions for the protection of state owned forest and biodiversity resources.
5) Identify and protect the remaining old-growth resources.
6) Promote incentives to forest plantation developments, particularly wood lots, trees outside of forests and other areas developed for biodiversity resources.
7) Eliminate policies that prevent the equitable sharing of benefits by local communities.
1) Promote integrated land use management and zoning.
2) Integrate forestry as part of rural development.
3) In previously centrally planned economies, carefully plan transition from subsidized economies and state planning to market economies.
4) In Russia and Eastern Europe, develop strong regulatory frameworks, independent monitoring and audit procedures; support institutional development; ensure the protection of fragile ecosystems; and establish much stronger timber concession systems and stronger law enforcement.
5) In China, encourage the integration of watershed and forest management, promote small-scale farmers and plantations.
6) Establish large biodiversity reserves in areas where opportunity cost is low.
7) Promote innovative financial mechanisms based on the global externalities of forests.
1) Promote integrated land use management based on a sound analysis of local populations' perceptions about the value of trees and their role as part of local production systems. Integrate forestry as part of rural development.
2) Promote joint management and forest management by the community. Empower communities.
3) Foster the diversification of tree crops.
4) Promote activities for the more intense utilization of dry forests for wildlife and ecotourism.
5) Encourage small pilot and demonstration projects that would test and demonstrate advantages of low risk improved forest management in the context of rural life, for example though the introduction of genetically improved trees.
14 The suggestions presented here are based on the results of a two day meeting organized by FAO: "Technical Consultation on the Management of the Forest Estate: Issues and Opportunities for International Action by the World Bank and FAO" and held in Rome, Italy (28-29th April 1999).