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Demonstration of reduced impact logging techniques in the field. Photos courtesy of FTCI
Training in reduced impact logging in Guyana
There has been an increasing interest at the global level for the adoption of reduced impact logging (RIL) as one means for moving towards sustainable forest management. The primary reason for this is that the increased awareness of the negative impacts of ill-planned forestry operations by stakeholders at the national and international levels has put pressure on governments to impose stricter controls on timber harvesting. Furthermore, international markets now require timber products from well-managed forests. In this respect, forest certification is emerging as a major driving force for the adoption of RIL.
Considerable progress has been made towards some aspects of sustainable forest management in the Guiana region. Research experiences in Suriname, Guyana and Brazil - mainly based on research by CELOS in Suriname (Hendrison, 1990), Tropenbos in Guyana (Van der Hout, 1999, 2000), and research, demonstration and training by Fundaçao Floresta Tropical (FFT) in Brazil (Holmes et al., 2000) - have demonstrated unambiguously that RIL reduces logging damage while remaining financially attractive for logging companies in most cases. Nevertheless, forestry operations in Guyana and Suriname remain generally poorly planned and supervised; the operations remain characterised by low productivity, high costs, and excessive environmental modifications.
So why are the demonstrated benefits of RIL not translated into improved practices on the ground?
Understanding the potential
benefits of RIL
Convincing company management of the benefits of RIL is not enough. Field managers should be supportive of the necessary changes as well. Coordinating the correct implementation of the RIL components demands better supervision and communication, this may mean a fundamental change to a logging company's organizational structure (Jonkers 2002, Klassen 2002).
According to Klassen (2002), lack of serious intent remains a major reason for the failure of companies to adopt RIL practices. He explains that companies are not interested in RIL because it disrupts the status quo and because many companies are mainly concerned with their immediate supply of raw material. This is especially true in the case of Guyana (and Suriname) where most logging operations are order-driven.
The result is often that the modus operandi remains unchanged because there is no experience in implementing new practices and there is disbelief in their effectiveness.
The perceived cost of RIL
This is largely explained by two facts: first, concessionaires usually have poorly developed cost-accounting systems and secondly, the forest manager's perception of costs may be incomplete - e.g. not being aware of the amortization cost of heavy equipment. Forest managers need to appreciate the cost of various operational elements in order to benefit from studies on the financial benefits of RIL.
Forestry Training Centre Incorporated (Guyana)
It is against this background, that the Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF), the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), and the Forest Products Association of Guyana (FPA) approached the International Tropical Timber Organization in 2001 to co-fund a RIL training and demonstration programme for Guyana and the region. The Forestry Training Centre Incorporated (FTCI) was established in 2002 to implement this programme. The Centre provides hands-on, practical training in and demonstration of RIL for all skill-levels from forest managers to field-based operators. Training is carried out at the Centre's permanent as well as satellite training sites and ex-situ by request. Hands-on training courses are being given as part of this real-life situation. Participants not only witness demonstrations and follow lecturers on best practices but also are encouraged to take part in them. This approach has been developed by Johan Zweede of FFT - a subsidiary of TFF - and has proven highly successful over the years, training over a thousand persons in RIL and catalyzing interest in applying RIL among a wide variety of stakeholders in Brazil (Blate, Putz & Zweede 2002)
During its first year, FTCI recruited and trained a well-qualified team that addresses all aspects of RIL. Through the generous support of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Caterpillar Inc., Macorp Guyana (local Caterpillar dealer), Stihl AG and Farfan & Mendes (local Stihl dealer), much needed training equipment has been acquired, including appropriately configured logging equipment (D6 bulldozer, wheel skidder, and frondend loader), chainsaws and safety equipment.
In general, three types of courses are offered:
Issues of occupational health and safety are included in all courses.
To date, FTCI has organised two courses and one workshop ex-situ, in which 55 persons participated. Participants included field-based operators, field supervisors, concession owners, and representatives of forest administrations of Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Belize. The courses and workshop were well received and led to a growing acceptance and awareness of RIL and a demand for training in RIL in the region. FTCI's permanent training site is expected to be operational by August 2004. Some sixty persons are expected to be trained between August and December 2004.
Blate, G.M., Putz F.E. and Zweede, J.C. 2002. Progress towards RIL adaptation in Brazil and Bolivia: driving forces and implementation successes. In T. Enters P. Durst, G. Applegate, P. Kho & G. Man, eds. Applying reduced impact logging to advance sustainable forest management, pp. 217-238. International conference proceedings, 26 February - 1 March 2001, Kuching, Malaysia. FAO RAP Publication 2002/14.
Dykstra, D.P. 2002. Reduced impact logging: concepts and issues. In T. Enters P. Durst, G. Applegate, P. Kho & G. Man, eds. Applying reduced impact logging to advance sustainable forest management, pp. 9-18 International conference proceedings, 26 February - 1 March 2001, Kuching, Malaysia. FAO RAP Publication 2002/14.
Hendrison, J. 1990. Damage-controlled logging in managed tropical rain forest in Suriname. Ecology and management of tropical rain forests in Suriname 4. Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Holmes, T.P, Blate, G.M., Zweede, J.C., Pereira, R., Jr., Barreto, P., Boltz, F. & Bauch, R. 2000. Financial costs and benefits of reduced impact logging in Eastern Amazonia. Tropical Forest Foundation, Alexandria, Virginia.
Jonkers, W.B.J. 2002. Reduced impact logging in Sarawak, Guyana and Cameroon - the reasons behind differences in approach. In T. Enters P. Durst, G. Applegate, P. Kho & G. Man, eds. Applying reduced impact logging to advance sustainable forest management, pp. 199-208. International conference proceedings, 26 February - 1 March 2001, Kuching, Malaysia. FAO RAP Publication 2002/14.
Klassen, A.W. 2002. Impediments to adoption of RIL in the Indonesia corporate sector. In T. Enters P. Durst, G. Applegate, P. Kho & G. Man, eds. Applying reduced impact logging to advance sustainable forest management, pp. 19-28. International conference proceedings, 26 February - 1 March 2001, Kuching, Malaysia. FAO RAP Publication 2002/14.
Van der Hout, P. 1999. Reduced impact logging in the tropical rain forest of Guyana. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 6. Tropenbos Guyana Programme, Georgetown, Guyana.
Van der Hout, P. 2000. Testing the applicability of reduced impact logging in greenheart forest in Guyana. International Forestry Review, 2(1): 24-32.
New Staff Members
Hikojiro Katsuhisa joined FAO on 29 March 2004 as Chief of FOPP. This is the second time he works for FAO. He was Project Operations Officer at the Asia Pacific Desk (FODO) 1985-1988. He started his career in the Forestry Agency as forest ranger in the northern part of Japan. His field project experiences include JICA's cable logging technical cooperation project in Java, Indonesia. For the past seven years, he worked for Japan Wood-products Information & Research Center as director of Seattle office and also director of overseas research division at its head office in Tokyo.
Anna Springfors joined FAO on 1 February 2004 as an Associate Professional Officer. She will work with FOPP on the development of regional code of practice for forest harvesting in Latin America and the issue of gender and forestry. She spent one year at International Labour Organization undertaking similar duties. Previously, she worked as an environmental consultant in Sweden.
Ms. Springfors holds a master degree from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Regional code of practice for reduced impact forest harvesting in tropical moist forests of West and Central Africa
The Forest Harvesting Code for Africa was prepared under the Sustainable Forest Management in African ACP Countries project of the FAO-EC Partnership Programme. This model Regional Code of Practice for Reduced-Impact Forest Harvesting is intended primarily to serve as a reference document for tropical African countries engaged in or aspiring to the sustainable management of their closed moist forests. It seeks to provide a range of standards, guidelines and rules that will help public- and private-sector foresters to adopt appropriate practices. Its aim is thus to function as:
The Code concentrates more on "what needs to be done" than on "how this needs to be done", and will not be directly applicable to all situations and all countries, given their number and variety. The guidelines presented will therefore need to be adapted to individual situations, but the Code does nevertheless lay down important general principles for environmentally sound forest harvesting. It is not designed as a source of reference on forestry techniques as such, or as a manual on the use of harvesting tools and equipment.
As its name suggests, the Regional Code of Practice for Reduced-Impact Forest Harvesting in Tropical Moist Forests of West and Central Africa focuses primarily on:
The Code comprises 13 chapters:
The first chapter states the objectives, approach and scope of the document, outlines the respective roles of the different actors in forest harvesting, and describes the impact of forest harvesting in a regional context. The second recalls the overriding principles of sustainable management of production forests, the various functions of the forest, the criteria for its sustainability, the international context surrounding it and the manner in which sustainable management translates into short-, medium- and long-term management planning.
The following two chapters deal with the preparation of harvesting activities (pre-harvest planning, including planning of non-harvest areas), and planning and construction of roads, drainage structures and watercourse crossings while the fifth chapter deals with the actual harvesting operations: felling, topping, skidding, cross-cutting, loading and transport.
The next two chapters examine post-harvest activities aimed at mitigating damage caused to skid trails, roads and water-courses, and conditions for managing wildlife on and around logging concessions. This is followed by chapters that provide guidelines on the planning and hygiene of logging camps, the servicing and repair of equipment, workforce qualification and training, and safety measures.
The code also features an important chapter on the principles of control, monitoring and evaluation of harvesting, which serve to examine the extent to which planning and RIL guidelines have been observed during operations.
The French version of the Code is currently available from the Forest Products Service FAO. To receive a copy, send an email to Forest-Harvesting@fao.org. The English version of the Code is currently in print.
For more information on the Code régional modèle d'exploitation forestière à faible impact dans les forêts denses tropicales humides d'Afrique centrale et de l'Ouest contact Forest-Harvesting@fao.org .
Environmentally sound forest harvesting in Brazil
FAO Forest Harvesting Case Study 19
This case study was written by Stefan Wellhöfer .
This study is a follow-up to a previous study in this series (Winkler 1997). Both studies were undertaken in a managed natural forest near Itacoatiara, about 230 km west of Manaus, in the Amazon region in Brazil. The two studies were conducted in collaboration with Precious Woods Amazon (PWA), the Brazilian subsidiary of Precious Woods AG located in Zurich, Switzerland.
The purpose of this re-examination was to assess the condition of the forest four years after logging had been completed. For this purpose, assessments were undertaken of regeneration within felling gaps and on skid trails, water infiltration rates on skid trails, the current status of potential crop trees, and the condition of residual trees of commercial species. Two plots, one treated with "conventional" logging techniques and the other with "environmentally sound" harvesting system were examined.
Post-harvest assessments of the biotic impact of harvesting operations and the regeneration of harvested areas provide basic information on the future economic and ecological potential of the forests and the sustainability of their use. The composition of tree species in the forest plots gives an impression of the future stability and potential economic value of the forests.
Table 1. Density of regeneration in canopy gaps
The general health status and damage to stems and crowns of residual trees of commercial species four years after harvesting operations can be taken as an indicator of the future development of the forest.
Table 2 Characteristics of residual trees of commercial species with DBH = 50 cm.
In the period since 1997, several significant problems have been identified by PWA that could influence the future of the PWA project, including unusually long rainy seasons and unreliable inventory data. If these difficulties are overcome, the success of the PWA project will continue to provide an excellent example for other forest companies operating in primary tropical forests. At the same time, if PWA is to retain its reputation as an outstanding example it must give continued attention to maintaining its practice of environmentally sound harvesting, training harvesting crews, and carefully maintaining its infrastructure.
Winkler, N. 1997 Environmentally Sound Forest Harvesting. Testing the Applicability of the FAO Model Code in the Amazon in Brazil. FAO Forest Harvesting Case Study No. 8. FAO, Rome. 78 pp.
News from the field
Team of Specialists on Gender and Forestry The first meeting for the Joint FAO/ECE/ILO Committee's Team of Specialists on Gender and Forestry in Europe and North America was held 23 April 2004 in Rome. The team has been charged with among other things developing criteria and indicators to reflect gender aspects in sustainable forest management and promoting national networks of women in forestry. Over the next two years the team will focus on gender structures in forest organizations and forest ownership and gender and the perception of forests. For more information please contact Anna.Springfors@fao.org
Team of Specialists on Forest Contracting in Europe The opening session of the UNECE/FAO Team of Specialists (ToS) on Best Practices was held on the 3rd of May 2004 in Rome at FAO Headquarters. This meeting was aimed at (i) building the team, (ii) determining a team leader and a responsible secretariat member, (iii) developing a work structure and (iv) assigning tasks and responsibilities for the team members in order to achieve the team's major output "Guidelines on Good Practice in Contract Labor in Forestry" to be finalized before end of 2005. For more information please contact Joachim.Lorbach@fao.org
DeLong, S.C.; Fall S.A. & Sutherland, G.D. 2004 Estimating the impacts of harvest distribution on road-building and snag abundance. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 34 (2): 323-331.
Hall J.S.; Harris D.J.; Medjibe V. & Ashton P.M.S. 2003 The effects of selective logging on forest structure and tree species composition in a Central African forest: implications for management of conservation areas. Forest Ecology and Management, 183 (1): 249-264.
International expert meeting on the development and implementation of national codes of practice for forest harvesting: issues and options. International Forestry Cooperation Office, Forestry Agency, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, Tokyo, Japan. Proceedings of an expert meeting held in Japan 17-20 November 2003.
Kilgore, M.A. & Blinn, C.R. 2004 Encouraging the application of sustainable timber harvesting practices: A review of policy tool use and effectiveness in the eastern United States. Water, Air and Soil Pollution: Focus 4(1): 203-216.
Macdonald, P. & Clow, M. 2003 What a difference a skidder makes: the role of technology in the origins of the industrialization of tree harvesting systems. History and Technology, 19(2): 127-149.
Schwab, O., Pulkki, R. & Bull, G.Q. (Updated 2003). Reduced impact logging in tropical forests: literature synthesis, analysis and prototype statistical framework. FAO Forest Products Division, Working Paper FOP/08. FAO Rome. 283 pp.
Sist P.; Sheil D.; Kartawinata K. & Priyadi H. 2003 Reduced-impact logging in Indonesian Borneo: some results confirming the need for new silvicultural prescriptions. Forest Ecology and Management, 179(1): 415-427.
Wellhöfer, S. 2002 Environmentally sound forest harvesting in Brazil, FAO Forest Harvesting Case Study 19, FAO Rome, 25 pp.
FAO/ECE/ILO Seminar on building bridges between people and forests: changing roles of State Forest Services. 12-16 September 2004, Groningen, the Netherlands.
1st International Conference on Environmentally Compatible Forest Products. 22 - 24 September 2004, Oporto, Portugal. For details see: http://www.ufp.pt/events.php?intId=10038
17th Session of the Committee on Forestry. 14 - 18 March 2005, Rome, Italy. Contact: Douglas.Kneeland@fao.org