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It is generally accepted that financial considerations represent one of the most important factors that can have an impact on the implementation of sustainable forest management. With this in mind, the FAO Forestry Department has implemented a programme of work on forest finance, to examine how government policies (in forestry and other sectors) affect financing in the forestry sector and the consequences of such policies for sustainable forest management.

One of the most important ways in which governments can have an impact on financing in the forestry sector is through the fiscal policies that they implement within the sector. Where forests are owned or managed by the state, the way in which charges for the use of forest resources are determined and implemented can have a major impact on the scale and types of investment in the sector. A vast literature has developed over the last 30 years examining this topic. Other fiscal policies, such as taxes and subsidies both within and outside the sector, can also have a significant impact on the forestry sector.

The purpose of this work will be to review the impact of current fiscal policies on sustainable forest management, along with other related policies, such as land tenure, which have an impact on forest financing. However, the work will attempt to go beyond simple financial analyses of current policies (which have largely been done before) to examine the broader social, institutional and political aspects of policy reform. It is hoped that this work will assist forestry administrations to identify practical ways in which they can revise their fiscal policies, so that they can more easily pursue the goal of sustainable forest management.

This work has been funded through the FAO Regular Programme and the EC Tropical Forestry Budget Line (FAO-EC Partnership Project on Sustainable Forest Management in African ACP Countries). A large part of the work has been produced by national consultants and institutions, with the supervision and assistance of FAO.

Working papers are being produced and issued as they arrive. Some effort at uniformity of presentation is being attempted, but the contents are only minimally edited for style or clarity. FAO welcomes from readers any information that they feel would be useful for this work. Such material can be mailed to the contacts given below, from whom further copies of these working papers, as well as more information about this programme of work, can be obtained:

Mr Adrian Whiteman
Forestry Officer (Sector Studies)
Planning and Statistics Branch
Policy and Planning Division
Forestry Department
Food and Agriculture Organization of
   the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
Rome, 00100, ITALY
Tel: (39-06) 5705 5055
Fax: (39-06) 5705 5137

Mr Peter Lowe
Forestry Officer
FAO Regional Office for Africa
Gamel Abdul Nasser Road
PO Box 1628
Accra, GHANA
Tel: (233-21) 675000 ext. 3404
Fax: (233-21) 668427

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