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3. The Need for Forest Planning

3.1 Planning Hierarchy


To ensure sustainable management of forests and land resources.

To ensure effective stakeholder participation in the planning process.

To provide protection of areas identified as significant for conservation.

To identify areas for forest harvesting.

To ensure proper and equitable returns to stakeholders based on sustained productivity.

3.1 Planning Hierarchy

Planning must be carried out across a range of hierarchical levels (country, regional, site-specific) to ensure that the process is acceptable to all stakeholders.

Broad scale planning will identify the requirements for balancing the conservation and development needs of forests and communities.

Site-specific planning will identify the most desirable management practices to ensure that areas are managed in a sustainable manner.

An integrated approach to forest planning requires consideration of three factors that are crucial to the implementation of sustainable forest management. These factors are:
These three major factors constitute the basis, or foundation for sustainable development and assist in determining suitable land-use zones. Each consideration can be translated into country and location-specific criteria.

The first factor to be considered refers to biological and environmental issues. What is growing and can potentially grow on a particular plot of land, and what land is available for forest management? What significant features or species occur in the area? What regulatory and legal considerations exist in the area to protect various biological and environmental features?

Planning must also consider the market, economic and financial issues. For example, will the particular area yield, in financial terms, a sufficient return? Where are the investment funds coming from and what is the cost of capital? What is the inherent value of the region for biodiversity conservation or other uses? Here, reference is must be made to both traditional economics with market forecasts (domestic and external) and emerging valuation methodologies.

These two considerations, in combination, will reduce and/or alter the options for land use. It might also be necessary to reject some options as they may not meet a set of designated criteria or the legislation.

The third set of considerations involves socio-economic criteria. These refer to people, both men and women, and their socio-economic conditions such as:

access to, and use of, land;
land tenure (as per custom laws or custom or individual owner rights);
values and beliefs;
institutions and economic, political and other organisations;
household livelihood strategies.
Inherent in these criteria is the opportunity and the need for creating sustainable relations between the local people who depend on the forest and the form of land use envisaged. This entails taking into consideration existing land uses. If the proposed land use denies people access to the forests they customarily use, the sustainability of this new land use will be jeopardised along with the well-being of people. At the same time, this set of criteria contains a large number of interesting opportunities to work with local communities (e.g., through buffer-zone management or ecotourism development) as well as opportunities for local employment and improved communications.

The three considerations can be viewed as three layers, or filters, superimposed upon each other, with the common area defining what is possible, relevant, and sustainable to undertake. This is shown as follows.

This scenario (shown as shaded) is essentially a compromise between the three different considerations and their associated criteria which provides contractors/concessionaires, local forest users, and the government with a sustainable management option for that particular location. The rationale for the three major considerations in general, and the socio-economic considerations in particular, is not simply welfare of philanthropic, but relates to the need to consider all the aspects to ensure that sustainable forest use is developed successfully.

3.1.1 Site-Specific Forest-Use Planning

At the site-specific level (the focus of this Code) as well, sustainable forest management should encompass biological, silvicultural, environmental, market, financial and socio-economic considerations. To do this, participation from stakeholders representing each aspect and area is essential, as is input and guidance from persons who are independent of the issues.

Initial planning for forest use should identify specific issues that are relevant to local user groups. It is important to incorporate any previous land-use planning or site-capability information. This will lead to options for future use of the area developed on sound land-use planning principles.

As an important part of the planning process, the forest benefits of sustainable land management as well as the costs of poor land management practices (in economic and environmental terms) need to be explained to stakeholders. These explanations and discussion should:

present resource owners with a range of options for sustainable management of particular areas, including the conservation of particular forests;

clearly present the consequences of using land or forests beyond their capacity for sustained production.

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