The first part of this work is about forests in the tropical zones and the issues raised by their management. It is an introductory component which sets out the framework, the limitations and the purpose of the paper.
Chapter I emphasizes the urgent need to guarantee the long-term management of the tropical zone forests, and the importance of mobilizing the international community. It justifies the purpose of the study, which is to foster the transfer of know-how and the search for new approaches and perspectives.
Chapters II and III describe the forest stands studied, their geographic distribution, and tries to identify the main evolutionary factors in these areas. Emphasis has been placed on the diversity of the situations examined, on the forest continuum ranging from the dry deciduous forest stands to the shrub steppe, and on the morphological similarities that exist between different geographic areas (Africa, America and Asia).
Lastly, Chapter IV sets out the concepts, principles and technical imperatives involved in sustainable management, which encompasses forestry measures to combat the degradation of forest stands.
In this first part, problems of definitions, nuances and/or standard terminology have emerged. Approaches which are the easiest to understand and which best fit in with the choices made by FAO have been used for this publication.