Frequently, it is only possible to make informed guesses on the volumes of residues that are available. No investor will come forward if a solid basis for decision making cannot be created. The “user-friendliness” of some rather voluminous reports also needs to be questioned. A rare exception is the “Guidelines for Management of Wood Waste from the Wood Processing Industry” published by the Forest Research Institute Malaysia. What is required is the repackaging of existing information in a way that addresses the questions of decision makers in the private and public sectors. The EC-ASEAN COGEN Programme is an excellent example of what could be done to raise awareness within the industry.
Electronic marketing is a tool that needs to be explored further. It should build on thorough analysis of the distribution of existing resources and potential users of logging and mill residues. Spatial analysis should highlight those areas where producers and consumers are located close to each other.
The legal framework for supporting increased utilization of logging and mill residues is in most countries weak. Most laws refer to pollution control but provide little incentives to potentially interested investors. The 1992 National Forestry Policy of Malaysia promotes “efficient harvesting and utilization within the production forest for maximum economic benefits from all forms of forest produce.” While such policies provide clarity, they need to be followed by concrete measures to achieve actual efficiency increases and sustainable forest management.
Innovative royalty and fee schemes need to be developed to make the extraction of logging residues more attractive (Klassen, 1994). Closer collaboration between contractors and foresters needs to be encouraged to address potential conflicts on site (i.e. in the forest during harvesting operations). While the provision of incentives can go a long way, a stricter enforcement of existing restrictions is also needed. According to the Indonesian case study, contractors are fined Rp. 50 000 (less than US$ 6) if they generate more than 1 m3 of waste per hectare. Such very low penalties are not effective deterrents. What is required is the development of criteria and indicators for allowable residue volumes. If acceptable levels of residues are exceeded, severe penalties should be imposed. Ultimately, clear guidance and supervision are necessary to avoid misunderstandings and to stimulate collaboration in searching for solutions.
The implementation of codes of forest harvesting or timber-harvesting guidelines need to be accelerated and incentives need to be created for the adoption of RIL to minimize damage and hence logging residues. Along with a commitment to improving forest-harvesting practices, financial resources need to be made available for necessary training activities (Vergara, 2001).
Finally, industrial operating capacities need to be reduced. This is easier said than done. However, the longer countries procrastinate in taking the necessary steps, the more drastic will be the actions that have to be taken in the future.