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The entire global community is concerned about the future of tropical forests. Despite lack of unanimity on the actual area that is being lost annually, there is consensus that this is a resource under increasing pressure. Available information shows that the survival of tropical forests depends on the development of sustainable management strategies and methodologies that would generate information on promising working packages. Despite notable progress recorded during the past century, the ecology and biology of SSA forest species are still poorly known. The situation in dry country forests is even more desperate. There is therefore a need for establishing a clear understanding of how species complexes relate to edaphic, hydrological, biotic and other environmental influences. Information on their adaptations to different niches, pollination and seed dispersal systems, and beneficial associations with micro-symbionts, are some of the critical issues for developing management operations. Current and future management challenges call for joint efforts between foresters (silviculturists and processors), ecologists, botanists, taxonomists, sociologists, economics and legal and policy experts, to develop and test appropriate and integrated resource management systems and models.

9.1 A summary of challenges to sustainable forest management

An assessment of the state-of-knowledge and experience on the management of secondary forests and the emerging challenges to SFM reveal a number of salient shortcomings, of which the following stand out as priority challenges that should be addressed through research and development:

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