Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


Appendix 1: Regional Initiative for the Development, Assessment and Measurement of National-level Criteria and Indicators for the Sustainable Management of Dry Forests in Asia*

Criterion 1: Extent of forest and tree cover


Area of natural and man-made forests


Area of dense, open and scrub forest


Area under trees outside forests


Forest area diverted for non-forestry use


Extent of encroachment in forest areas

Criterion 2: Maintenance of ecosystem health and vitality


Extent of natural regeneration


Extent of secondary forests


Extent of forest area under:

Noxious weeds
Pests and diseases of epidemic proportions


Extent of forest area affected by:


Criterion 3: Maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity


Extent of protected areas


Number of threatened, keystone, flagship and endemic species of plants and animals


List of flora and fauna


Extent of non-destructive harvests


Percentage of cover by forest type


Mechanisms for the conservation of genetic resources

Criterion 4: Conservation and enhancement of soil and water resources and other environmental functions


Extent of watershed areas under management


Area under shelter-and green belts


Duration of streamflow and water yield


Extent of soil erosion


Change in level of water table


Change in sediment load

Criterion 5: Maintenance and enhancement of forest productivity


Extent of forest area under forest management plans


Changes in growing stock of wood and NWFPs


Difference between annual allowable and actual cuts


Annual removable NWFP


Area of afforestation and new plantations including agroforestry


Degree of technological inputs


Contribution of forest to GDP through total economic value

Criterion 6: Extent of forest resource utilization


Per capita wood and NWFP consumption


Import and export of wood and NWFPs


Recorded and unrecorded removals of wood and NWFPs

Criterion 7: Socio-economic, cultural and spiritual needs


Extent of contribution of forest management activities to food security and other livelihood needs


Level of recreation, cultural, religious and aesthetic needs.


Gender-related indices in forestry (GDI in HDR of UNDP)


Extent of application of traditional knowledge


Direct and indirect employment in forestry and forest industries


Contribution of forest to the income of forest-dependent people

Criterion 8: Policy, legal and institutional framework


Existence of national forest policy and legal framework


Extent of community, NGO and private sector participation in forestry activities


Investment in forestry research and development


Human resource capacity building mechanisms


Existence of forest resource accounting mechanisms


Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms


Existence of mechanisms for information dissemination


Extent of transfer of technology


Fiscal and monetary incentives for investing in forestry activity


Benefit sharing mechanism for stakeholders engaged in forest management activities


Existence of conflict management mechanisms


Changes in number of forest offences

* Developed by participants from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Mongolia and Sri Lanka during the "Workshop on National-Level Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Management of Dry Forests in Asia" organised by FAO/UNEP/ITTO/IIFM, Bhopal, India, 30 November to 3 December 1999.

Appendix 2: Definitions and basic principles of sustainable forest management in relation to criteria and indicators

Afforestation: Establishment of forest plantations on land that was not classified as forest. Implies a transformation from non-forest to forest areas.

Assessment: The process by which information about forest management is collected with a view to establishing, within a defined framework of expectations, the current status and probable future director of interactions between human beings and forests, using certain criteria and indicators.

Biological diversity: The variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

Biomass: Is defined as the total aboveground living organic matter in trees expressed as oven-dry tonnes per unit area. It is referred to as biomass density when expressed as mass per unit area, e.g. tonnes per ha. Excluded are stumps and roots (belowground biomass), foliage, flowers and seeds. Different procedures in estimating biomass will be followed for the different vegetation types.

Conservation forest: Areas set aside by law or some other ruling for conservation purposes, for example: national parks, biological reserves, water reservoirs.

Criterion: A category of conditions or process through which sustainable forest management can be assessed. A criterion is characterized by a set of related indicators, which are monitored periodically to assess change (Montreal Process 1995).

A criterion describes the different sides of sustainability on a conceptual level. It is a distinguishing element or set of conditions or processes by which a forest characteristic or management measure is judged (Plan-European Forest Process 1994).

Deforestation: Conversion of forest to another land use or the long-term reduction of the tree canopy cover below the minimum 10 percent threshold.

Desertification: Land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry subhumid areas resulting from various factors, including climate variations and human activities.

Ecosystem: A community of plant and animal species and micro-organisms, considered together as a functional system which includes the complex, ever changing relations that exist among plants, animals and microbes, including humankind, and their environment. The term is used in identifying a certain forest site type (e.g. health forest). The term habitat is used in a general sense for the place where an organism is found (FAO 1989).

Endangered species: Species classified by an objective process (e.g. national "Red Book" as being in the IUCN categories "critically endangered" and "endangered". A species is considered to be "critically endangered" when it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future. It is considered "endangered" when it is not critically endangered but is still facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future.

Endemic species: Species is endemic when found only in a certain strictly limited geographical region, i.e. restricted to a specified region or locality.

Exotic (introduced) species: Tree species occurring outside their natural vegetation zone, area or region. May also be termed non-indigenous species.

Exploitable forest: A forest on which there are no legal, economic or technical restrictions on wood and non-wood production. It includes areas where, although there are no such restrictions, harvesting is not currently taking place; for example, areas included in long-term utilization plans.

Forest: Land with tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 10 percent and area of more than 0.5 ha. The trees should be able to reach a minimum height of 5 m at maturity in situ. May consist either of closed forest formations where trees of various storeys and undergrowth cover a high proportion of the ground, or of open forest formations with a continuous vegetation cover in which tree crown cover exceeds 10 percent. Young natural stands and all plantations established for forestry purposes which have yet to reach a crown density of 10 percent or tree height of 5 m are included under forest, as are areas normally forming part of the forest area which are temporarily unstocked as a result of human intervention or natural causes but which are expected to revert to forest.

Includes: Forest nurseries and seed orchards that constitute an integral part of the forest; forest roads, cleared tracts, firebreaks and other small open areas within the forest; forest in national parks, nature reserves and other protected areas such as those of special environmental, scientific, historical, cultural or spiritual interest; windbreaks and shelterbelts of trees with an area of more than 0.5 ha and a width of more than 20 m; plantations primarily used for forestry purposes, including rubberwood plantations and cork oak stands.

Excludes: Land predominantly used for agricultural practices.

Forestry: Activities related to the management of forests and other wooded land for the production and supply of wood or other goods and services.

Forest degradation: Impoverishment of standing woody material mainly caused by human activities such as overgrazing, overexploitation (for firewood in particular), repeated fires, or attacks by insects, diseases, plant parasites or other natural causes such as cyclones. Very often degradation does not show up so much in decrease of woody vegetation but rather as a gradual reduction in biomass, changes in species composition and soil degradation.

Forest ecosystem: An ecological system composed of interacting biotic and abiotic components of the environment in which trees are a major constituent, such that their canopies cover 20 percent or more of the area.

Forest goods and products: Wood and non-wood forest products obtained from forests.

Forest land: Countries have defined forest land differently and, as such, a single definition is not possible here. When reporting, each country should provide its own definition for forest land.

Forest management units: A clearly demarcated area of land covered predominantly by forest, managed to a set of explicit objectives and according to a long-term forest management plan. A forest management unit may cover several hundred hectares to fractions thereof. The entire area of the forest management unit will have to be clearly demarcated on the ground and usually also on a map. Under the broad objectives to which the entire management unit is subjected, subunits may be managed under different and separate management regimes.

Forest services:

Forest type: Classification of forest land based on species forming a plurality of live-tree stocking. Type (e.g. low forest, multi-layered forest, even-aged forest etc.) is determined on the basis of species plurality of all live trees that contribute to stocking) Pan-European Forest Process 1994).

Function: The set of processes that results from interactions among biotic and abiotic components of the ecosystem. Four classes of processes are important:

Growing stock: Stem volume of all living trees more than 10 cm dbh (or above buttresses if these are higher), over bark measured from stump to top of the bole. Excluded are all branches.

Commercial growing stock: Part of the growing stock that consists of species considered as actually or potentially commercial under current local and international market conditions, at the reported reference diameter (dbh). Includes: Species which are currently not utilized, but potentially commercial having appropriate technological properties.

Guideline: A recommendation that leads or directs a course of action to achieve a certain goal.

Indigenous tree species: Tree species which have evolved in the same area, region or biotope where the forest stand is growing and are adapted to the specific ecological conditions predominant at the time of the establishment of the stand. This may also be termed native species or autochthonous species.

Indicator: The fulfillment of a criterion is evaluated by using indicators. A typical indicator is a measure of an aspect of the criterion or a measurable quantitative or descriptive variable which when compared to previous measurements demonstrates changes or trends. The indicator has to be judged on a scale of acceptable standards of performance, which may vary widely from region to region and from time to time. Some aspects of criteria cannot be quantified. Their fulfillment can only be judged through the existence and effective implementation of a regulatory framework.

By repeatedly measuring the fulfillment of the criteria, countries can evaluate whether forest management is moving towards or away from sustainability. Also, they can be used as a tool for reporting on the implementation of the commitments made and thus whether the objectives set are being met.

Monitoring: Based on repeated data collection, periodic and systematic measurement and assessment of changes in indicators.

Natural forest: Natural forests are forests composed of indigenous trees, not planted by humans. Or in other words forests excluding plantations. Natural forests are further classified using the following criteria:

Natural forest undisturbed by humans: Forest which shows natural forest dynamics such as natural species composition, occurrence of dead wood, natural age structure and natural regeneration processes, the area of which is large enough to maintain its natural characteristics and where there has been no known human intervention or where the last significant human intervention was long enough ago to have allowed the natural species composition and processes to have become re-established.

Natural forest disturbed by humans: Includes:

Natural regeneration on forest land: Natural succession of forest on temporarily unstocked lands that are considered as forest.

Non-wood forest products: Products for human consumption: food, beverages, medicinal plants, and extracts (e.g. fruits, berries, nuts, honey, bush meat, mushrooms, etc.).

Fodder and forage (grazing, range)

Other non-wood products (e.g. cork, resin, tannins, industrial extracts, wool and skins, hunting trophies, Christmas trees, decorative foliage, mosses and ferns, essential and cosmetic oils, etc.)

Other wooded land: Land either with a tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of 5-10 percent of trees able to reach a height of 5 m at maturity in situ; or a crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 10 percent of trees not able to reach a height of 5 m at maturity in situ (e.g. dwarf or stunted trees) and shrub or bush cover of more than 10 percent.

Other land: Land not classified as forest or other wooded land as defined above. Includes agricultural land, meadows and pastures, built-on areas, barren land etc.

Plantation: Forest stands established by planting or seeding in the process of afforestation or reforestation. They are either:

Note: Area statistics on forest plantations provided by countries should reflect the actual forest plantation resource, excluding replanting. Replanting is the re-establishment of planted trees, either because of afforestation or reforestation failed, or tree crop was felled and regenerated. It is not an addition to the total plantation area.

Principle: A fundamental law or rule as a guide to action; a rule of conduct; a fundamental motive or reason for action, especially one consciously recognized and followed. A principle is commonly formulated around a core concept based on social ethics, values, and tradition as well as on scientific knowledge. Usually principles can be expressed concisely and crisply, for example, sustainable development principle, sustained yield principle, sovereignty principle, polluter pays principle, and a set of forest principles negotiated at the World Summit (CSCE Seminar and Montreal Process 1993).

Production forest: A forest managed to harvest forest products and to sustain the bioproductivity of the system.

Productive forest: An area of forest capable of producing wood for more than a certain predicted amount, e.g. the increment volume is more than 1 m3/ha/year in the foreseeable future.

Protected area: As defined by the World Conservation Union (WCU) a protected area is an area of land or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, managed through legal or other effective means.

Protection forest: The function of forest/other woodland in providing protection for soil against erosion by water and wind, prevention of desertification, the reduction of risk of avalanches and rock or mud slides; and in conserving, protecting and regulating the quantity and quality of water supply, including the prevention of flooding. Includes: Protection against air and noise pollution.

Reforestation: Establishment of forest plantations on temporarily unstocked lands that are considered as forest.

Shrub- and brush land: Woody perennial plants, generally of more than 0.5 m and less than 5 m height, and often without a definite stem and crown. "Trees outside the forest" are excluded.

Sustainable development: The management and conservation of the natural resources base, and the orientation of technological and institutional change in such a manner as to ensure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for present and future generations. Such sustainable development (in agriculture, forestry and fisheries' sectors) conserves land, water, plant and animal genetic resources, is environmentally viable and socially acceptable.

Sustainable forest management: It is the stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biological diversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfil, now and in the future, relevant ecological economic and social functions, at local, national and global levels, and that does not cause damage on other ecosystems.

Tree: A woody perennial with a single main stem, or in the case of coppice with several stems, having a more or less definite crown. Includes bamboo, palms and other woody plants meeting the above criterion.

Trees outside forests: Trees on land other than forest or other wooded land.

Includes: Trees on land that meets the definitions of forest and of other wooded land except that the area is less than 0.5 ha and the width is less than 20 m; scattered trees in permanent meadows and pastures; permanent tree crops such as fruit tree orchards and coconut palm plantations; trees in parks and gardens, around buildings, in hedgerows and in lines along streets, roads, railways, rivers, streams and canals; trees in shelterbelts and windbreaks of less than 20 m in width and 0.5 ha in area.

Unproductive forest: A forest which is not regularly managed, yielding timber less than a certain amount, e.g. the increment volume is less than 1 m3/ha/year in the foreseeable future.

Vegetation type: Mixture of vegetation covering a forest site. Used in identifying a certain forest site type, e.g. heath forest (Ministerial Conference on the Protection of European Forests and the Pan-European Forest Process 1994.).

Appendix 3: Literature used

The references contained in this list have either been cited in the text or used as general background information to develop the practical guidelines.

Appanah, S. & Kleine, M. 2001. Auditing of sustainable forest management: A practical guide for developing local auditing systems based on ITTO's Criteria and Indicators. Forestry Research Support Programme for Asia and the Pacific (FORSPA). FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand.

CIFOR. 1999. The CIFOR criteria and indicators generic template. The Criteria & Indicators Toolbox Series 2.

FAO. 2000a. Development of national-level criteria and indicators for the sustainable management of dry forests in Asia: Workshop report. FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand.

FAO. 2000b. Development of national-level criteria and indicators for the sustainable management of dry forests in Asia: Background papers. FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand.

FAO. 2001. Global forest resources assessment 2000. Main Report. FAO Forestry Paper 140.

Forest Survey of India. 2001. Inventory of non-forest areas of Hoshangabad District (MP). Forest Survey of India, Central Zone, Nagpur, India.

Ministry of Environment and Forests. 2000. State of forest report 1999. Forest Survey of India, Dehra Dun, India.

Prasad, R. 1999. Sustainable forest management for dry forests in South Asia. In: Development of national-level criteria and indicators for the sustainable management of dry forests in Asia: Background papers. FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand.

Prasad, R., Kotwal, P.C., Chadurkar, D., Jadhav, Y.D., Horo, N.V. & Dugaya, D. 2002. Manual for operationalising criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management at the forest management unit level in India. IIFM/ITTO Report, Bhopal, India.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page