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Over the past decades, FAO has been collecting, analysing and disseminating forestry data. Its latest worldwide forest evaluation, the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000, provided information on the status and trends in forest cover, as well as parameters on productive, environmental and socio-economic benefits of forests. The total forest area in 2000 was 3 860 million hectares, of which 95 percent was natural forest and 5 percent was forest plantation. About half of that area was located in tropical and subtropical regions, mostly in developing countries, and the other half in temperate and boreal regions, predominantly in industrialized countries. More precisely, about 47 percent of the world's forests were tropical, 9 percent subtropical, 11 percent temperate and 33 percent boreal.

While forests covered 27 percent of the globe's total land area, or nearly 0.6 hectares per capita, their distribution among regions and countries was highly unequal. Europe and South America had almost half of their area under forest, whereas Africa, Asia and Oceania had less than 20 percent. More than 70 countries had less than 10 percent of their land area forested, whereas seven countries had forest on more than 60 percent of their land area. The four countries with the largest forest cover, namely the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada and the United States, accounted for no less than half the world's forests.

Between 1990 and 2000, deforestation continued to be high, although at a lower rate than that in the pre-Rio decade. In developing countries, mainly in tropical and subtropical regions, the estimated annual net loss of forest cover was, for the decades before and after Rio, respectively 12.7 and 10.7 million hectares, i.e., a decrease of 10 percent over the 1980-90 period. By contrast, in industrialized countries the temperate and boreal forest cover has stabilized after Rio and is even slightly increasing overall.[5] Gains in forest area are primarily due to forest plantation and natural regeneration, whereas deforestation is largely the consequence of the conversion of forest to other uses such as agriculture, pasture and infrastructure, as well as timber harvesting, severe wildfires and devastating windstorms (FAO, 2001a; FAO, 2000)

Parallel to this loss in the planet's forests, the post-Rio decade has witnessed numerous endeavours towards the strengthening of forest laws and institutions, both globally and nationally. In the international arena, while attempts to develop a world forest convention have remained unconsummated during and after Rio, other significant initiatives have fostered multilateral forestry cooperation, mainly through forestry-related fora and non-binding instruments.

More importantly, legal reforms have been carried out in a multitude of countries, bringing about major changes in national forestry legislation worldwide. Overall, contemporary forest law now appears to place less emphasis on the role of forests as economic assets but a much greater focus on their multifunctional nature, with sustainability concerns, ecological values and social interests clearly achieving more and more prominence. This more balanced approach is reflected in many recently developed national forestry laws.

The present chapter will describe this post-Rio evolution of forest law, first addressing international developments, then discussing national trends.


The current international forest regime is a composite and complex one. (Amilien, 1995; Humphreys, 1996; Tarasofsky, 1999) Although no world treaty on forests has yet been adopted, a number of international initiatives, including non-governmental and private sector ones, have been taken since Rio, such as the development of new forest policies by various international institutions (FAO, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, Greenpeace, the World Conservation Union, the World Wildlife Fund, etc.). In addition, there were statements on forests by the G8 Summits; establishment of an advocacy international NGO, the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development; and creation of an accreditor of certification bodies, the Forest Steward-ship Council. Another development has been forest industry involvement in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

At the regional level, one post-Rio treaty that specifically deals with forests was adopted in 1993 in Guatemala City: the Central American Convention for the Management and Conservation of Natural Forest Ecosystems and the Development of Forest Plantations. Similarly, a draft Forestry Protocol is being developed for the Southern African Development Community region.

In addition, numerous international instruments which affect forestry, both binding and non-binding, are already in place and were largely built up in the years since Rio. Together with trade-related instruments, these are briefly described, as they represent a guiding legal and policy frame of reference for domestic lawmaking, one which has frequently inspired national forest law reforms over the last decade.

2.1. Instruments Derived from Rio

At the Rio Conference and during its preparations, forests were among the most contentious and hotly debated issues, with North and South polarized over tropical deforestation. This divide did not permit agreement on a global forest convention, although it had been advocated by a number of countries. Instead, states decided to devote a specific chapter of Agenda 21 to forests - Chapter 11, “Combating Deforestation” - and to adopt a “Non-Legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests” (Forest Principles). Other instruments with a bearing on forests, developed in anticipation of or subsequent to Rio, include the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and the 1994 UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD).

2.1.1. Agenda 21 and the Forest Principles

Focusing on deforestation, Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 highlights four programme areas: sustaining the multiple roles and functions of forests; promoting efficient resource utilization and evaluation techniques that incorporate all forest values; strengthening capacities for planning assessments of forestry activities; and enhancing conservation and management of degraded forest areas. The chapter urges countries to develop national forest strategies and plans addressing these policy areas. It also calls for the formulation of criteria and guidelines to help sustainably manage, conserve and utilize forests.

Acknowledging national sovereignty over forest resources, the Forest Principles provide a policy platform aimed at directing country efforts to maintain and increase forest cover and productivity in economically, ecologically, socially and culturally sound ways. National forest policies that balance environmental and development concerns and are supported by appropriate institutional arrangements, are to be designed and implemented in a participatory manner, with the involvement of all interested stakeholders, including forest dwellers and indigenous peoples. Additionally, the costs of forest conservation and development actions should be equitably shared by the international community, and trade in forest products should not be unduly restricted.

These two major forest-specific UNCED documents, though not legally binding, have greatly inspired post-Rio developments, nationally as well as internationally, both in the policy arena and in the legal sphere. In particular, in light of Chapter 11 and the Forest Principles, some 120 national forest programmes have been developed and/or updated in recent years. The formulation process of these programmes has, in turn, brought about considerable legislative change in the forestry sector (discussed in Part III below).

2.1.2. Convention on Biological Diversity and Forests

In force since December 1993 and ratified by 183 parties as of June 2002, the CBD seeks to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, while ensuring equitable distribution of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. Beyond species diversity, it holistically addresses biodiversity in natural habitats, including forest ecosystems. Hence it has significant potential effects on forest resource management, preservation and use. (Tarasofsky, 1995)

Specific discussions on forest biodiversity started at the third Conference of Parties (COP-3) in 1996 and continued at COP-4 in 1998 and COP-6 in 2000. Subsequently, an action-based work programme on forest bio-diversity was drafted by CBD's Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice in 2001, and eventually adopted at COP-6 in April 2002. It consists of 130 activities clustered in three groups: conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing; the institutional and socio-economic enabling environment; and knowledge, assessment and monitoring. Parties are requested to report on programme implementation in their national reports, and an ad hoc technical expert group is to be established to advise in this respect. When and how parties will translate this programme into action remains to be seen. However, due to the CBD's influence, greater emphasis is already being placed in recent forest legislation on the biological values of forests (see section 3.2.)

2.1.3. Framework Convention on Climate Change and Forests

The FCCC has been in force since March 1994 and had 186 parties by June 2002. FCCC's objective is to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, in particular carbon dioxide (CO2). This general commitment was later made more specific in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol (KP), which set GHG emission reduction targets for developed countries and countries in transition to market economies, but has yet to come into force. Forests can help to slow down climate change, acting as reservoirs by storing carbon, and functioning as carbon sinks when their area or productivity is increased, resulting in greater uptake of CO2. Conversely, forests become a source of GHGs when their biomass burns or decays.

Under the KP, afforestation, reforestation and improved forest conservation and management practices are to be used to offset emission targets. On the other hand, activities which deplete forest carbon sinks, such as deforestation, are to be subtracted from the amounts of allowed GHG emissions. Operational details for measuring and assessing the contribution of forests to cuts in emissions (among other issues) have been the subject of long negotiations, and were only agreed upon in November 2001 at FCCC's COP-7 - an agreement that could clear the way for the KP's entry into force. So far, however, the FCCC and the KP have not yet had significant impacts on national forest laws.

2.1.4. Convention to Combat Desertification and Forests

The Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) became legally binding in December 1996 and had 179 parties by June 2002. It aims to combat desertification and to mitigate the effects of drought in an integrated manner, through the adoption of national action programmes. These are to address the underlying causes of desertification and drought - which include deforestation - as well as preventive and remedial measures. Conservation and regeneration of the vegetation cover is part and parcel of these, hence the significant role that forestry can play in desertification control policies and strategies. Yet, although forest laws generally cover various issues related to desertification, such as land clearing, over-logging, over-grazing and over-cultivation, desertification is rarely explicitly addressed.

2.2. Post-UNCED International Processes

After the “spirit of confrontation” over forests that prevailed at the Rio Conference, there was a need for confidence building through international dialogue. Intergovernmental deliberations continued mainly through the Commission on Sustainable Development, in the course of its own sessions and under two ad hoc groups that were created under its aegis, the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and the Inter-governmental Forum on Forests (IFF). They met from 1995 to 1997 (IPF) and from 1997 to 2000 (IFF), and considered a vast range of forestry issues on which progress was made to varying degrees, but without final agreement on the idea of a possible forest convention. To further advance this effort, in October 2000, the UN Economic and Social Council established, as its subsidiary body, the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) for a term of five years. Drawing on IPF/IFF's 270 proposals for action, UNFF has taken up outstanding matters and should eventually consider, by 2005, a “mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests” (ECOSOC Resolution 2000/35).

Among the topics on which significant progress was made through these and other processes, the area of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management (C&I) is particularly noteworthy. Building on the proposals for action on C&I that were made by IPF and IFF, several eco-regional initiatives, involving some 150 countries, led to the development of nine major series of specific C&I for all types of forests worldwide.[6] With these C&I in place, sustainable forest management can now be better defined conceptually and progress towards achieving it measured more precisely, both nationally and at the forest unit level. However, as they are relatively recent, such C&I have, to date, only been reflected in a handful of forest laws.

2.3. Trade-related Agreements

Trade has been a key issue in the international debate on forests, both at and since the Rio Conference. Trade in forest products was specifically addressed in Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 and in the Forest Principles, and has been a major topic of IPF and IFF deliberations. Trade in timber is also dealt with by two pre-UNCED accords: the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA) and, to a lesser extent, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The WTO mandate includes forest-related issues, although it has not yet specifically considered timber matters.

Initially adopted in 1983, ITTA was renegotiated after UNCED. Like its predecessor, the new agreement, brought into force in 1997, seeks to foster cooperation in trade and utilization of tropical timber, with a greater focus on sustainability. It promotes timber trade that is based on sound management and sustainable exploitation of tropical forests. In April 2002, ITTO had a membership of 57 parties, which accounted for 76 percent of the world's natural tropical forests and 90 percent of international trade in tropical timber. Under its “Year 2000 Objective” (adopted in 1990), ITTO members committed to having all traded timber come from sustainably managed forests by the year 2000. To this end, ITTO published in 1992 the first set of C&I for sustainable forest management, which broke new ground at the time and are now being updated and improved, particularly in terms of increased efficiency in processing and marketing. (Cirelli et al., 2001)

Under CITES, several tree species have been listed for many years in the three appendices, with various levels of control on their trade. In the years since Rio, attempts to list some other major commercial tree species generated controversy, particularly with the listing in Appendix III of big-leaf mahogany in 1995; a Timber Trade Group was therefore created to look into these issues. (FAO, 1997) Subsequent proposals were made to move this species to Appendix II in view of its stricter trade restrictions, but no agreement could be reached by either CITES' 10th Conference of Parties (COP-10) in 1997 or COP-11 in 2000. A Mahogany Working Group was thus established to further study the matter and to report to COP-12 in 2002.

On the other hand, COP-11 decided to uplist two tree species to Appendix I: the monkey puzzle tree and lignum vitae. By and large, CITES is believed to provide a useful forum where trade and conservation concerns are in general fairly balanced, and whose decisions are usually well implemented through national legislation in its 158 member countries (as of June 2002).

Within WTO, the Committee on Trade and the Environment's mandate includes forest-related issues. In 1998, the Committee briefly discussed forestry in connection with trade restrictions and distortions. (WTO, 1997) Since then, WTO has had no timber dispute to resolve and has not developed a forest policy. And although environmental matters figured prominently in the 2001 Doha Declaration of the WTO Ministerial Conference, forestry was not explicitly mentioned in the related work programme. WTO's role in timber trade is therefore yet to be clearly defined, with persistent uncertainties lingering on whether or not environment-related measures such as certification, eco-labelling, export bans or export quotas could be considered barriers to trade. As a result, national forest policies and laws will likely continue to take divergent approaches to trade in forest products.


In the aftermath of Rio, steady efforts at forest law design and reform have been taking place throughout the world. As can be seen in the Annex, some 90 countries have enacted new laws or amended existing legislation on forests over the last decade. These developments have occurred in very diverse political, institutional and legal contexts, as well as under extremely different economic, social, cultural and environmental conditions, including differences in the nature and significance of forest resources. As a result, the legal issues at stake in the forestry sector varied dramatically from place to place. Notwithstanding this great diversity, several common trends in recent legislation are noticeable worldwide, which may be clustered in the following interrelated categories: management, conservation, utilization, privatization, devolution and decentralization.

Other areas of recent development in forest laws, which are not specifically addressed in this chapter, include such debated and evolving issues as the definition of forests and forestry concepts, forest tenure and tree tenure, forestry-related activities (sylvo-pastoralism, agro-forestry), urban forestry, logging bans and log export bans, institutional and financial aspects, corrupt practices and compliance and enforcement issues.[7]

3.1. Forest Management

New forestry legislation tends to promote, in more and more explicit terms, the integration of sustainability principles into forest management, in particular through the use of planning tools.

3.1.1. Sustainability Concerns

Adherence to the concept of sustainable development is clearly one of the emerging trends in legislation, one that pre-UNCED forest laws rarely echoed. This concept is understood to embrace the notion of multiple forest uses and benefits as enshrined in the Rio Forest Principles, i.e., timber, food and fuel, as well as biological diversity and resources, protection of ecosystems and watersheds and recreation and tourism. It is now reflected in several recent laws, such as Bolivia's 1996 Forest Act, which aims to regulate the conservation and sustainable use of woodlands and forest resources for the benefit of present and future generations, reconciling the country's social, economic and ecological interests. Referring to the precautionary principle, it stipulates that where there is evidence that a practice in forest management is likely to cause serious or irreversible damage to the ecosystem, responsible officials must take appropriate measures to prevent or mitigate its effects. The law also states that exemption from liability may not be claimed on the grounds of lack of scientific certainty, or the fact that an authorization has been granted by the competent authority. Similarly, Solomon Islands' Forests Act of 1999 provides for the precautionary principle to be applied “in order to protect forest resources and preserve the forest environment”. The same principle is also explicitly embodied in Mozambique's Forest Law of 1999.

In the same vein, the 1996 Forest Law of Portugal expressly refers to sustainability among its basic principles, providing that sustainable forest development must be the main objective of the country's forest policy. Forests are to be managed sustainably, in the broader framework of integrated rural development, so as to meet the needs of present and future generations. Likewise, Estonia's Forest Act of 1998 provides for the management of forests as a renewable natural resource with a view to satisfying economic and other needs of the population without causing unnecessary damage to the environment. The same objective is spelled out in similar terms in the Georgian Forest Code of 1999. In Africa, various recent forest acts or bills also aim to achieve sustainability. For example, the forest laws of the Republic of Congo and Mozambique as well as the forest bills of the Niger and Togo define the concepts of sustainable development and integrated management as they apply to the forestry sector (Cirelli et al., FAO, 2001; Kern et al., FAO, 1998).

As to the criteria and indicators aimed at improving forest management, while most states are currently involved in C&I-related international initiatives (see section 2.2. above), to date only a small number of laws contain specific requirements to comply with such processes domestically. One is Costa Rica, whose legislation is quite specific in this regard. It requires management plans to be prepared in accordance with officially approved C&I for sustainable forest management (1997 Regulations). A detailed set of national C&I were developed accordingly, binding for natural forests and voluntarily applicable to forest plantations (1998 Regulations). Further C&I were later specially produced for “secondary forests”, taking into account their particular features (1999 Regulations).

Another illustration is South Africa's Forests Act of 1998. With a view to promoting sustainability in forest management, it directs the competent minister to set criteria to determine whether a forest is managed sustainably; establish indicators to measure the state of forests and forestry activities; and formulate appropriate standards in relation to those indicators, the breach of which is an offence. Under Peru's Forest Law of 2000, forest concessions may only be granted on the basis of management plans, which must comply with C&I approved by regulation.

3.1.2. Planning Tools

Management plans, the most significant forestry planning tool,[8] have long been a common characteristic of forest legislation. During the last decade, however, they have acquired more prominence in forest laws, with a marked trend towards a widening of their objectives and an extension of their coverage. Beyond timber extraction, legislation now requires planners to pay greater attention to a broader array of social, cultural and environmental interests that have been, in the past, overlooked or neglected in conventional planning. Moreover, management plans are more and more often made a legal prerequisite for the exploitation of all categories of forests, whether public or private. In addition, provision is increasingly made for stakeholders' involvement in the formulation and implementation of management plans.

Illustrations of this widespread trend are found in recent legislation throughout the world. In Africa, almost all recent laws require a forest management plan, with a varying degree of coverage and detail. Under Mali's Forest Law of 1995, a plan must be produced for all government forests, whether gazetted or not. In other countries, such as South Africa (1998 Forest Act), even privately owned forests are subject to management planning. However, where forests are under community management, the law may be less demanding and only require “simple” plans, as is the case in Cameroon (1994 Forest Law). In Europe, too, the preparation of management plans is frequently made compulsory by law, although the nature and scope of the plan may vary significantly, depending in particular on the form of forest ownership. Occasionally, management plans are not required; instead, innovative management techniques not involving the development of plans for every parcel of forest may be put in place, such as in Sweden. (Cirelli et al., FAO, 2001)

In most countries experiencing a shift from centrally controlled to market-driven forestry, management planning has taken on a particular meaning. Owing to the tendency towards central planning under former systems, forestry planning is often still focused on the determination of timber demand and production quotas, even in recent forest laws such as China's Forestry Act of 1998. However, legislative changes reflecting the transition to a market economy are progressively discernible in the provisions dealing with management planning, for example in Cuba's Forest Law of 1998.

Establishment of a hierarchy among a country's forest management plans is not uncommon in post-Rio forest laws. Quite often, legislators take a staged approach to forestry planning, providing for the development of various plans at different government levels, and requiring local plans (or plans developed at the forest unit level) to be consistent with broader regional or national plans. This is the case with Papua New Guinea's Forestry Act, which calls for the preparation of a national forest plan, provincial forest plans, five year working plans and annual logging plans. Guinea's Forest Law, too, provides for a multi-layer planning system. In addition to a national plan spelling out the country's forest policy, lower-level plans must be produced for the regions and the préfectures, as well as for each management unit. Similarly, under the United States' forestry legislation, the Forest Service is required to prepare national renewable resources assessments and programmes, regional plans for the forest system and land and management plans for the forest units. (Kern, et al., 1998) By contrast, Vanuatu's Forest Act of 2001 provides for a unique Forestry Sector Plan that acknowledges the limited size of the country and requires its application in the conduct of all forestry operations within the whole national territory. (Fingleton, FAO, 2002)

Regarding the legal status accorded to forest management plans, in particular whether or not their prescriptions are legally binding, there seems to be no distinct trend in recent legislation. In some instances, the law expressly requires that forestry operations be consistent with approved management plans (e.g., Burkina Faso's Forest Code of 1997, Guinea's Forest Act of 1999), occasionally providing that non-compliance is an administrative offence (e.g., Senegal's Forest Regulations of 1999) or even a criminal offence (e.g., the Republic of Congo's Forest Code of 2000). In other situations, forest officials are legally required to abide by the prescriptions of the plans in the exercise of their licensing powers, for example to grant - or refuse the award of - cutting permits in accordance with specified allowable cuts (South Africa's Forest Act of 1998, Zanzibar's Forest Act of 1996). More frequently, the conclusion of a forestry contract or the granting of a timber concession is made conditional upon prior approval of a management plan for the relevant forest, in which case the plan itself is part of the overall contractual arrangement (e.g. Bolivia's Forest Act of 1996, Cameroon's Forest Act of 1994, Guatemala's Forest Act of 1996).

Greater public involvement and inter-institutional consultation in the design of management plans is another trend in recent legislation, though not yet fully established in all regions of the world. Many forest laws now provide for public meetings and hearings, access to available information - including draft plans - and opportunities to comment throughout the planning process (Estonia's Forest Act of 1998, Finland's Forest Act of 1996, Nicaragua's Forest Regulations of 1993). Further, the public is sometimes allowed to participate even in the implementation, monitoring, assessment and revision of the plans, as is the case for provincial forest plans in the Canadian provinces of Ontario (Crown Forest Sustainability Act of 1994) and Saskatchewan (1996 Forest Resources Management Act). The involvement of stakeholders may also be promoted through advisory or coordinating forestry bodies, where interested parties, whether public or private, can be represented and voice their concerns. Illustrations of this type of forum are found in many forest laws, such as those of Bulgaria (1994), Mexico (1997), Peru (2000) and Portugal (1996), as well as in forest bills from Honduras (2001) and Paraguay (2002).

The growing prominence given to management plans in forestry legislation, however, is not necessarily matched in actual practice. In many countries, the ambitious objectives of lawmakers in terms of management planning do not accurately reflect the realities on the ground. This is due in part to the lack of capacities and resources needed to produce and implement management plans, both in government agencies and the private sector. Recent statistics indicate that, while forest areas under management plans are on the rise globally, in developing countries only 6 percent of the total forest area is covered by officially approved plans. This can be contrasted with the situation in industrialized countries, where some 89 percent of the forests are managed according to formal or informal plans (FAO, 2000).[9]

3.2. Forest Conservation

Forest law-making has always been relatively receptive to conservation concerns. Since Rio, however, forest laws have become even more broadly inclusive of the environmental values of forest ecosystems. Besides confirming traditional protection measures - deforestation control, fire fighting, creation of protected areas, etc. - legislators are now placing greater emphasis on forest ecological functions in terms of biological processes and environmental services.

3.2.1. Environmental Values

Many recent laws now consistently refer to the goals of forestry as including the need to manage sustainably the country's environment and biological diversity, as well as to comply with international obligations deriving from applicable conservation treaties. This tendency is notable in preambles or objective statements introducing forestry laws. For example, the stated purpose of the 1996 Forestry Law of the Lao People's Democratic Republic is to set the “fundamental principles, regulations and measures for the management, preservation and use of forest resources and forest land ... with a view of ensuring the balance of nature ..., preserving water resources, preventing land erosion, preserving seeds, trees, aquatic animals, wildlife and the environment in a contribution to the national socio-economic development”. Similar objectives are spelled out in the initial provisions of Papua New Guinea's Forestry Act and the Forests Act of the Solomon Islands.

The specific legal content given to these general goals varies greatly from country to country, and the goals themselves are achieved using several techniques. Typically, the legal provisions relating to forest policies and inventories, or to the classification and management of forests, take explicit account of environmental considerations. For example, Burkina Faso's Forest Code of 1997 states that the conservation of biodiversity is one of main pillars upon which the country's forest policy must be shaped.

Current forest legislation also tends to be more specific in requiring that environmental criteria be considered in the formulation and implementation of management plans (e.g., Guinea's Forest Law of 1999). Such a requirement often applies to both production and protection forests (e.g., Benin's Forest Regulations of 1996). The collection of environmental and biodiversity information is also increasingly prescribed as part of legally mandated forest inventories (e.g., 1999 Forest Law of Mozambique). In addition, laws frequently establish forest categories that embody specific environmental objectives, requiring that each type of classified forest be managed according to a distinctive conservation regime. Illustrations of these include forest nature reserves, watershed forests, coastal area protection forests or other categories designed to protect certain indigenous forests from commercial logging (e.g. 1996 Forest Act of Zanzibar, 1998 Forest Law of Cuba, 1999 Forest Code of the Dominican Republic, 2000 Forest Law of Peru).

Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and audits are increasingly becoming common tools of forest management, either by explicit reference in forest laws or more often through general environmental legislation. EIAs are mandated in different ways. They may be required as part of the approval process of forest management plans, forest concessions and other development projects (e.g. Cameroon's Forest Law of 1994, Senegal's Forest Regulations of 1999). They may also be prescribed as a precondition to the declassification of gazetted forests (Cape Verde's Forest Law of 1998, Guinea's Forest Act of 1999). Sometimes, EIAs must be carried out prior to major land clearing (Burkina Faso's Forest Code of 1997, the Republic of Congo's Forest Code of 2000) or the introduction of alien species (e.g 1999 Forest Law of Mozambique, 2001 Forest Regulations of Peru).

Occasionally, EIAs may also involve the consideration of social impacts of forestry programmes or development projects occurring in forest areas, for instance their effects on the livelihoods of forest-dependent people (e.g. Bhutan's Forest Act of 1995, Chad and Comoros Forest Bills). In general, EIA processes include the design of solutions to mitigate the likely negative impacts of proposed actions (e.g. 2001 Forest Law of Guinea-Bissau, 1997 Forest Law of Mauritania). Less frequently, some laws provide for the evaluation of ongoing projects to update or revise the initial assessments. Under Bolivia's Forest Act of 1996, for example, forest inspections and audits must periodically assess the environmental and social effects of forestry activities. With a similar goal, “environmental forest audits” are also foreseen in Nepal's Forest Act (1993) and Regulations (1995).

Finally, forest environmental services tend to figure more and more prominently in most post-Rio forest laws. Thanks to the impact of CBD's work, greater emphasis is being placed in recent forest laws on the biological values and functions of forest ecosystems. New ecological services have recently begun to surface in forest legislation, adding to their traditionally stated watershed, soil and water conservation functions, as well as their increasingly recognized roles in maintaining biological diversity, processes and resources (Cirelli et al., FAO, 2001 and Kern et al., 1998).

In conjunction with the opportunities expected to arise from the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, attempts to reflect the potential of forests to fix carbon are becoming discernible in a few laws. So far, however, the FCCC and the KP have barely influenced domestic forest laws, and climate-related provisions remain scarce and unspecific in forest legislation - although some examples exist. The Forest Acts of China (1998) and of Peru (2001) contain brief statements in this regard, tying forestry to climate in general terms. Under the 1999 Forest Law of the Dominican Republic, regulations may be made to create incentives for managing forests for environmental services such as carbon sequestration. The Australian state of New South Wales, through a 1998 amendment to its property legislation, recognized a separate legal interest in the carbon sequestration potential of forest land.

Costa Rica's Forest Law and Regulations of 1996 offer a unique illustration of a relatively detailed set of provisions in this area. A third of the national tax on hydrocarbons is dedicated to the conservation of forests to compensate for the environmental services they provide, including mitigation of gas emissions. Forest land owners can receive certificates for forest conservation representing payment for environmental services, which they can use to pay taxes and other fees owed to the government. Furthermore, “greenhouse gas mitigation certificates” were created as a tradeable security. They represent specific levels of gas reduction or mitigation, expressed as equivalent amounts of carbon removed from the atmosphere. Through a reforestation and forest conservation project, the first certificates, issued in 1997, represented credit for 200 000 metric tonnes of carbon offset (Rosenbaum, FAO, 2001).

3.2.2. Protection Measures

Control of deforestation, pests, fires and pollution, as well as the protection of tree species or the creation of forest protected areas, are among the traditional conservation measures most commonly found in legislation. They remain present in post-Rio forest laws apparently without significant changes, the only novel area being that of forest certification. Forest certification has lately emerged as an instrument with the potential to promote forest protection, though it is also widely viewed as a primarily market-based tool, the assumption being that products certified as coming from sustainably managed forests would have the preference of consumers. (Bourque, 2002) Whatever the logic behind it, certification was hardly mentioned in forest legislation until recently, although more than 50 certification schemes have already been developed since Rio.

Some legal developments suggest that certification is beginning to find its way into law, essentially as a voluntary scheme for certifying forest management standards or products from managed forests. South Africa's Forests Act of 1998, for instance, requires the Minister responsible for forestry to “create or promote a certification programme ... to encourage sustainable forest management”. Likewise, Georgia's Forest Code of 1999 states that regulations shall be made for the voluntary certification “of forests, forest resources and management techniques”. In Peru's Forest Law of 2000, voluntary certification of products from managed forests is encouraged through the reduction of concession fees. By contrast, the 1997 Forest Code of the Russian Federation is probably unique in making certification mandatory for “wood supplies and secondary forest resources”, specifying that their certification must be organized and carried out by the forestry agency, in the manner determined by the government.

Other conservation mechanisms include placing forests under some protected area status, which continues to be the most frequently used tool in legislation. Today, about 10 percent of the world's forests are estimated to be under a formal protected area category. (FAO, 2000) For example, Zanzibar's Forest Act of 1996 provides for the designation of “nature forest reserves”. In some countries, such as Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Peru, protected areas and wildlife are mainly governed by forest legislation. In most cases, however, the creation of protected forests is separate from the establishment of national parks and other protected areas, both institutionally and legislatively. Moreover, rare or endangered forest tree species are often listed for partial or full protection, owing to their socio-economic, medical or cultural values, as well as their ecological, botanical or scientific interest. Where the exploitation of such species is allowed, it is usually subject to a special permit (e.g. Guinea's Forest Law of 1999, Mali's Forest Law of 1995).

Protecting forests against clearing - a major deforestation cause in many countries - may be achieved in law through different techniques. One way is to restrict or prohibit the clearing of specified categories of land, such as forest areas situated on river banks or on steep slopes (e.g, 2001 Forest Law of Guinea-Bissau). Another is to allow land clearing only in cases where it is undeniably in the public interest (Madagascar's Forest Law of 1997) or when development projects for which clearing is needed may not be located outside the forest (Mauritania's Forest Law of 1997, Forest Bills of Chad and Comoros). In addition, some laws require the plantation or reforestation of a piece of land to compensate for an authorized clearing. This may be achieved either directly through an obligation to replant or indirectly through clearing taxes, the proceeds of which are used to finance compensatory reforestation (1998 Forest Law of Cape Verde, 1999 Forest Law of Guinea). A less common and more recent method to limit major land clearing is to make it subject to a formal EIA procedure, as indicated earlier.

Forest laws often contain a chapter on protection against fires. Sometimes, forest fires are the subject of specific regulations (e.g., Brazil 1999, Indonesia 1995, Italy 1997, Portugal 2001, Viet Nam 1998) or even separate parliamentary acts in a few countries (e.g., Ontario in Canada 1996, South Africa 1998). Fire fighting measures typically include prohibitions and restrictions. Forest fires are systematically forbidden for hunting purposes and frequently prohibited for agricultural or grazing purposes. Controlled fires, however, are quite commonly allowed for management and prevention, provided the necessary precautions are taken to avoid fires spreading. Not infrequently, such fires are only permitted in specified seasons or periods (e.g., Mali's Forest Law of 1995, Mauritania's Forest Law of 1997). Preventive measures generally include the creation of firebreaks, the erection of observation posts in areas susceptible to fire or in critical periods of the year or the setting up of fire fighting units. In a number of laws, local authorities and people are required to help fighters control fires that break out in nearby forests (the Republic of Congo's Forest Code of 2000, Guinea's Forest Law of 1999). In some cases, fire-induced damage must be covered by special insurance (1996 Forest Law of Portugal).

3.3. Forest Utilization

Forest laws traditionally embody licensing requirements and contractual arrangements for forest resource exploitation in its various forms. Since Rio, the apparent trend here is that, although lawmakers have been rather creative with respect to forestry contracts, they have not significantly deviated from well-established approaches to licensing of forestry operations.

3.3.1. Licensing Requirements

In general, forest laws continue to require licences for forest harvesting of all kinds, from both public and private stands. Licences are also imposed on most forest market operators, be they transporters, charcoal producers, sawmill owners, importers or exporters. Under the Gambia's legislation, for example, separate licences are mandated for forest harvesting and milling and for wood merchants. The possession of a licence only allows the undertaking of the corresponding category of activity; however; a licensee may still be required to obtain specific permits for particular actions. Similarly, in Ghana, chainsaw owners must register with the relevant local authority, and further obtain a permit whenever the chainsaw is used to fell any tree (Cirelli et al., FAO, 2001).

While licensing is needed to control illegal behaviour, it may represent an oppressive burden on both government and private actors, particularly on poorly equipped forestry services and small entrepreneurs, without necessarily providing noteworthy benefits in terms of improved forest management or quality of market outputs. Hence the emerging trend, in recent forest legislation, to ease some licensing requirements. For example, in Guinea, instead of a permit, a simple declaration by the owner or operator may suffice for the harvesting of forest trees planted on private land (1999 Forest Law). In such cases, the selection and marking of trees to be logged, which would otherwise usually be required by law, may also be waived.

A different approach to prior licensing is taken in some European countries. In Sweden, a permit is required for logging on forest land that is protected or difficult to regenerate; otherwise, forest owners must simply give notice of logging operations, specifying how they intend to satisfy the objectives of conservation (Forest Act of 1994). In Finland, interested owners may issue a felling declaration, following which the competent authorities may wish to negotiate conditions if the operation is likely to have undesirable effects. If any are found, the activity may be prohibited (Forest Act of 1996). Other limited innovations have been introduced in the licensing schemes of a few post-Rio laws, either by establishing auctions for the awarding of harvesting licences, or by allowing the possibility of extending the duration of licences, and modifying applicable fees if the holders have made investments on the concerned lands (e.g. 1992 Forest Law of Albania, 1994 Forest Law of Armenia, 2000 Forest Code of the Republic of Congo).

3.3.2. Contractual Arrangements

Besides licences, forest resources are also exploited, in numerous countries, by means of concessions, leases and other contractual arrangements. (FAO, 2001c) Older forest laws were generally imprecise, if not silent, regarding the conditions and procedures governing the award of forestry contracts. As a result, most concessions were granted in secretive ways, often regardless of technical criteria and without ensuring fair competition among potential concessionaires. Over the years, this brought about not only widespread corrupt practices, but also severe economic loss and serious environmental damage in the forestry sector. In an effort to remedy this situation, lawmakers tend nowadays to set forth in some detail the procedures by which forestry contracts are to be awarded in a more transparent manner.

In particular, new forest laws now seek to specify the basic elements of an auction and bidding system, including the content of a call for bids, the form and content of submissions, the professional qualifications and independence of auctioneers and decisionmaking timeframes. Sometimes they also specify when non-economic criteria can be used to distinguish between competing bids. For example, under Bolivia's 1996 Forest Act, special weight may be conferred on non-quantifiable characteristics of the bidding entity where preference in concession awards is given to neighbouring indigenous communities. Moreover, concessions may be publicly registered and must be granted in a continuous and uninterrupted area. The logging area must also be protected, together with its natural resources and biodiversity.

In Ghana, the Timber Resources Management Act of 1997 supplanted prior concession arrangements and established “timber utilization contracts” which must be concluded through a process involving, inter alia: open competition among eligible candidates; consultation of the land owner community regarding the area under contract and the forest operations to be conducted; and local people's participation in determining the social responsibilities of the contractor. Land owners and farmers whose land is within the contract area have a specific right to oppose harvesting on that land or to claim compensation for damage caused thereby. A number of other recent laws have similar provisions on forest concession or lease arrangements, such as the forest acts of Malawi (1997), the Russian Federation (1997), South Africa (1998), Peru (2000) and the Republic of Congo (2000).

Spelling out the process of awarding forestry contracts not only promotes greater openness and accountability in decisionmaking, but also helps provide a level playing field for interested competitors. Furthermore, with a well-ordered process of granting, evaluating and recording such contracts, conflicts generated by overlapping concessions may be substantially reduced, existing rights within concession areas may be more easily settled and respected, interests of third parties may be better protected and illegal activities may be prevented and tracked more efficiently.

3.4. Privatization in Forestry

With the role of private owners and operators attracting growing attention in law reforms, privatization in forestry is another clearly observable trend. The common orientation is undoubtedly towards greater promotion of private initiatives and investments in the forest sector worldwide. In several countries, this tendency extends to include the transfer of government forest land to private hands.

3.4.1. Private Forests

Since Rio, privatization of forests has emerged as one of the most complex issues of legal reform in various regions of the world. This was especially the case in the former centrally planned economies, where the transition to market economies brought about comprehensive reassessments of forest policies. As a result of structural adjustment undergone through the last decade, the roles assumed by the states needed to be redefined away from being rigid command-and-control authorities and forest owners and managers. In addition, the legal provisions governing the ownership of forest lands and assets were the subject of significant debate and key change.

This process was carried out in a variety of ways and involved several interconnected issues. Among the apprehensions raised by privatization, a central concern was: is private ownership of forest land desirable in view of the overall national interests and in terms of sustainable forest management? In the face of growing privatization of forest lands, in recent years the fear has been expressed that: (i) proper management will become impossible if the extent of small holdings falls below a certain minimum (which is frequently the case in the countries in transition - thus the 1994 Forest Act of Lithuania prohibits dividing properties into parcels smaller than a minimum size in order to prevent excessive fragmentation); (ii) for lack of means, capacity or oversight, private owners will over-exploit their forests, will not provide adequate wood supplies for industries and will not sufficiently invest in the equipment required for sustainable resource management.

Other thorny questions included: How far and how fast should established forms of forest ownership be transformed? How can the forest assets to be privatized be properly valued? What efficient and equitable tools should be better used for transferring forest ownership - restitution, distribution or sale; priority to employees; nationals only or also foreigners? (FAO, 1994) Different approaches were taken in national laws, but in essence they involved some common features, namely: (i) the transformation of state enterprises carrying out forestry and related activities (mainly through administrative reforms); (ii) the partial restitution, sale or distribution of forest lands to former owners or to other private entities; and (iii) the definition of the legal regime applicable to privatized forests (e.g., Albania's Law of 1998 on “giving ownership in agricultural lands, forests, pastures and meadows”).

In many instances, privatization extended to the ownership of forest resources and holdings. Countries where forest lands may now be privately held include Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. (FAO, 2001a) In other cases, governments decided to retain ownership of forest lands even where agricultural holdings may have been handed out to former owners. As a result, the numbers of small private forest holdings have rapidly grown in certain countries, especially in those that used to have many forest owners in the past (e.g., Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland). Notwithstanding these legal changes, in actual fact most forest lands in the majority of countries in transition to market economies still remain in state hands, and are expected to be retained by the government for the foreseeable future. In exceptional cases, as in Armenia, the law does not yet allow the privatization of state forest land.

A similar move away from the monopolistic approach to forest ownership is also noticeable in other parts of the world, where the forest estate used to be mostly or entirely state-owned in colonial times, particularly in Africa and Asia. In these regions, private ownership of forests is now permitted in recent legislation, although often in limited ways. This trend is evidenced in Africa by the laws of Benin (1993), Guinea (1999), Madagascar (1997) and Mauritania (1997), and in Asia by the laws of Bhutan (1995), China (1998), Myanmar (1992) and Nepal. For example, under the 1996 Forest Law of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, individuals may own and inherit forests planted by them under specified conditions. Likewise, pursuant to the legislation of Senegal (1998-99), where individuals plant forest stands in the national domain, they acquire ownership of the forest stands but not the land itself.

3.4.2. Private Forestry

More generally, fostering private management is a common feature in new forest laws, even in the rare instances where forest lands remain wholly owned or controlled by the state. Provision is more frequently made in most countries for some form of privatization in the forestry sector, such us allowing individuals or private companies to engage in forestry (planning, planting, harvesting, etc.), with reduced involvement of state agencies in logging, processing, marketing and pricing, and with growing openness to foreign competition (Cirelli et al., FAO, 2001; Kern et al., FAO, 1998).

Moreover, private rights in government-owned forests are increasingly given in various legal forms, such as leaseholds, concessions and other contractual use rights. Quite often such rights are now granted for longer periods of time (forestry generally requiring a long turnaround on investment activity), which makes them more secure and sometimes akin to ownership. The forest laws of Cameroon (1994), the Republic of Congo (2000) and Gabon (2001) offer examples of this trend.

In many countries, other legal tools designed to promote private forestry include financial incentives to private operators, on the one hand, and some degree of deregulation of private forest management, on the other. Forestation and afforestation of private lands, for example, are increasingly encouraged in legislation through tax exemptions (e.g. 1993 Law of Benin, 1997 Law of Madagascar), as well as through subsidies and low interest rate loans (e.g 1998 Law of Cape Verde, 1997 Law of Equatorial Guinea).

Liberalization in the forest sector, in the sense of reduced regulation and control of private activities, is also used as an incentive in a growing number of countries. For instance, throughout Western Europe, normal licensing requirements are generally less stringent for private forest owners and operators. However, where particular restrictions on the use of private forests are imposed, the affected owners are entitled to compensation. In Great Britain, where a licence to fell trees on private land is denied, the owner may claim and obtain damages. Similarly, in Norway, reparation must be paid to the owner of a forest who cannot take wood from it for reasons of environmental protection (Cirelli et al., FAO, 2001).

3.5. Devolution and Decentralization

In recent forest law reforms, local forest management has received a great deal of attention, especially with respect to community-based activities and the realignment of powers and responsibilities between central and local governments. Local management of forests is now increasingly promoted in various ways, though it is still subject to numerous limitations.

3.5.1. Promotion of Local Management

Since Rio, community-based forest management was promoted not only as a way of improving local livelihoods and of recognizing local claims to rights over forest resources, but also as part of a worldwide move towards devolving or decentralizing various governance functions. It is now broadly recognized that without local people having a significant stake in the management of local forest resources, the efforts of understaffed and poorly financed forest officials to protect forests will often be futile (Lindsay, Mekouar and Christy, FAO, 2002).

Historically, forestry legislation has generally been unfriendly to local management. In most parts of the world, the overall trend was toward an assertion of central government control over forests, at the expense of local practices, perceptions and values. It is true, however, that forest usage rights have been given some recognition in most countries' legislation - particularly in developing countries - thereby allowing local people to meet their household needs in forest products. Nevertheless, forest laws have traditionally provided little scope for local people to play a meaningful part in the planning, management and allocation of forest resources on which they have depended for centuries - and which they may have actively managed and protected. Typically, the state itself has taken on this role, giving very weak or no legal protection to existing community-based systems, and providing no alternative mechanisms by which local groups or individuals might assert effective control. (Bruce, 1999) Efforts to address these shortcomings in recent forest law reform have taken various forms, with the common aim of improving the legal environment for local participation in forest management.

First, various mechanisms for the devolution of forest management to local communities, villages, user groups or households have been created through site-specific arrangements such as co-management agreements, community forestry leases, village forest reserves and related devices. An illustration of this approach is Nepal's 1993 Forest Act, which provides for the “turning over” of portions of national forest to local user groups who agree to manage the areas in accordance with an approved plan. A broad range of variations on this approach may be found in a growing number of forest laws, including those of Benin (1993 Forest Law), Bolivia (1996 Forest Law), Burkina Faso (1997 Forest Code), Cameroon (1994 Forest Law), Costa Rica (1996 Forest Law), the Gambia (1998 Forest Act), Guinea-Bissau (2001 Forest Law), India (1992 Joint Forest Management Regulations), the Lao People's Democratic Republic (1996 Forest Law), Madagascar (1996 Law on Local Management of Natural Resources), Mozambique (1999 Forest Law) and South Africa (1998 Forests Act).

Second, several countries have accorded increasing recognition to the historical land or the territorial claims of local peoples. A notable example of this trend is the 1997 Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act in the Philippines. Similarly, the rights of indigenous communities figure prominently in the legislation of several Latin American countries, such as Bolivia (1996 Forest Law), Mexico (1997 Forest Law) and Nicaragua (1993 Forest Regulations). A number of other countries, including Australia, Canada, South Africa, the United States and several countries in Central and Eastern Europe, are engaged in restoring the lands of dispossessed communities and individuals, some of which lands include natural forests or commercial plantations (FAO, 1994; Kern, et al., 1998; Cirelli, et al., FAO, 2001).

Third, many countries have moved to decentralize various aspects of forest administration to local government bodies. This may be carried out either specifically within forest legislation, or more generally as part of an overall revision of local government law. Again, examples can be found in all regions, from Latin America (Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru), to the Sahel (Guinea, Mali, Senegal) and Asia (China, Fiji, India, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Viet Nam) (Cirelli et al., FAO, 2001; Kern et al., 1998).

These three categories are only indicative of a wider variety of approaches that are being tried throughout the world. Moreover, they are not mutually exclusive, and often overlap or operate concurrently. For instance, under some West African laws (e.g., Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Senegal), where management of certain forests has been decentralized to the level of the commune, the local government may have the opportunity further to devolve management over specific sub-areas through a contract with local users (Cirelli et al., FAO, 2001).

3.5.2. Limitations on Local Management

Despite the higher profile given to local forest management in recent legislation, many of the reforms are characterized by significant limitations and ambivalence, both on paper and in practice. Quite frequently, government forest departments continue to hold most of the important decisionmaking powers, including the power to draft and approve management plans, and to decide about the selection of species, the marketing of harvested products and the use of benefits by local groups. Furthermore, the strength of the rights granted or recognized under local arrangements may be unclear or insecure, either because the terms of the agreements are too short, or because governments tend to retain wide powers to terminate agreements or to cancel legal recognition for poorly defined reasons. In addition, legal provisions that appear to protect the traditional rights of indigenous peoples are sometimes so weakly or ambiguously drafted as to be unusable.

In truth, in a number of countries forest authorities have embraced the concept of community-based management mainly in areas where forest resources are already depleted. There is frequently a reluctance to share control over richer, more intact areas, even where there is evidence that the health of the resource is due in large part to the long-established informal stewardship of local people. There is therefore a continuing need to find workable legal arrangements that provide or recognize meaningful and secure rights for local forest managers, while allowing a flexible response to vastly different local conditions as well as an appropriate balance between various interests. This is an area of forest law that will surely continue to experience significant evolution in the years ahead (Lindsay, FAO, 1999).


After a sharp political divide on forest issues at UNCED, which did not allow agreement on a world forest treaty, the post-Rio decade witnessed numerous efforts at fostering dialogues and strengthening laws and institutions, both globally and nationally. Significant initiatives have been taken to advance multilateral cooperation, through non-legally binding instruments - Forest Principles, Agenda 21 - as well as forestry and forestry-related international fora - IPF, IFF, UNFF, CBD, FCCC, CCD, CITES, ITTO, in particular.

Stirred and inspired by these intergovernmental endeavours and other non-governmental undertakings, domestic legal reforms have been carried out worldwide, bringing about major changes in contemporary forest law. Although the legal issues addressed varied profoundly from place to place, several common trends in recent statutes are clearly noticeable. Overall, forest legislation has been steadily reoriented towards a more balanced, integrated approach to forest management, conservation and development. With sustainability concerns, ecological values and social interests increasingly achieving more prominence, less emphasis is now being put on the role of forests as economic assets, and greater focus is being placed on their multifunctional nature.

The concept of sustainable development is central to modern forest law. It translates into the notion of multiple forest uses and benefits, which embrace not only timber, fuel, food and other forest products, but also biological diversity and resources, protection of ecosystems and water-sheds, recreation and tourism, as well as other environmental services, including carbon sequestration. Planning tools, especially management plans, are more visibly present in forest laws, with wider objectives and extended coverage. There is also growing provision for forest concessions and contracts to be more precise and transparent, to provide greater accountability and to prevent corruption. Further, with the worldwide drive towards the privatization of forests and forestry, private owners and operators have become key players in most recent forest laws. Likewise, as decentralization of responsibilities and devolution of powers gain ground in the forestry sector, local actors are given more important stakes and better defined roles in forest planning, use and management, including through community-based arrangements.


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Annex - Post-Rio Forest Legislation at the Domestic Level: New Enactments and Major Amendments





Albania, Mexico, Myanmar, Switzerland

Belize, Brazil, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, France, Gabon, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Viet Nam


Benin, Croatia, Cuba, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, Slovenia, Tajikistan

Albania, Australia, Belgium, Bhutan, Brazil, Cuba, Finland, France, Gabon, Guinea, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Niger, Russia, Uruguay


Armenia, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Sweden, Syria, Ukraine

Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Italy, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, United Kingdom


Austria, Bhutan, Mali, Mongolia, New Zealand, Paraguay, Turkey

Cameroon, Ecuador, France, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Mali, Nepal, Paraguay, Senegal, Tanzania, Turkey


Austria, Bolivia, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Guatemala, Hungary, Jamaica, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Mali, Portugal, Romania, Tanzania (Zanzibar)

Albania, Australia, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Finland, France, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Mali, New Zealand, Niger, Peru, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia


Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Russia

Belgium, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hungary, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Mali, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Zambia


Albania, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Estonia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Lesotho, Norway, Senegal, South Africa

Albania, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Finland, Georgia, Hungary, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Portugal, Russia, Viet Nam


Argentina, Dominican Republic, Georgia, Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, Zambia

Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Indonesia, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Senegal, United Kingdom, Viet Nam, Zambia


China (Taiwan), France, Peru, Republic of Congo

Argentina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Georgia, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Spain


Gabon, Guinea-Bissau

Argentina, Bolivia, Cameroon, Malta, Peru, Viet Nam

* In the left-hand column, states that have enacted new laws or substantially amended existing laws since Rio are in bold italics (the other states listed in that column only slightly amended their laws), while the right-hand column lists the countries where major subsidiary legislation was adopted during the same period.

[5] These figures are also partly due to the fact that, for the first time, a uniform definition of forest was used in the 2000 assessment. As a result, for some countries the forest cover was higher than in previous assessments.
[6] While the "criteria" define the principles against which sustainability is judged, the "indicators" help monitor the effects of management over time, considering the productive, protective and social roles of forests. The main eco-regional initiatives on C&I are: (i) Helsinki Process: 6 criteria and 27 indicators for boreal, temperate and Mediterranean forests in 37 European countries; (ii) Montreal Process: 7 criteria and 67 indicators for boreal and temperate forests in 12 non-European countries; (iii) Tarapoto Proposal: 13 criteria and 76 indicators for the forests of the 8 state parties to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty; (iv) Dry-Zone Africa Process: 7 criteria and 47 indicators for dry forests in 28 countries; (v) Near East Process: 7 criteria and 65 indicators for dry forests in 30 countries; (vi) Lepaterique Process: 12 criteria and 93 indicators for the forests of the 7 states of Central America; (vi) Dry-Zone Asia Initiative: 8 criteria and 49 indicators for dry forests in 9 Asian countries; (viii) ITTO Initiative: 6 criteria and 27 indicators for tropical forests of the 12 International Tropical Timber Organization member states; (ix) African Timber Organization Initiative: 28 criteria and 60 indicators for tropical forests of the 13 Member States.
[7] For a discussion of some of these subject matters, see in the references, in particular: Contreras, 2002; Kern, et al., 1998; FAO, 2001b; FAO, 2001c; Fingleton, 2002; Lindsay, Mekouar and Christy, 2002; Prieur and Doumbé-Billé, 1996; Rosenbaum, 2002; Rosenbaum and Lindsay, FAO, 2001.
[8] Other important management planning instruments, not discussed here, include forest inventories, which are often required by law to periodically assess forest resources quantitatively and qualitatively, both country-wide and at the forest level (e.g. 1999 Forest Law of Mozambique).
[9] Similarly, only a handful of developing countries regularly carry out national forest inventories. About half of the countries have had only one forest inventory and one-fifth of them have never carried out an inventory (FAO, 2000).

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