The Guiding principles (Chapter 3) provides a framework supporting dialogue in the formulation of policies, laws, regulations and strategic and management plans. These, in turn, will help improve enabling conditions and enhance the capacity and capability of decision-makers and managers in planted forest management, whether in government, the private sector or other stakeholder groups.
Chapter 4 summarizes considerations for implementation – to guide those responsible for providing enabling conditions, technical support, investment or management of planted forests. No attempt is made to describe detailed technical guidelines or implementation standards for planning, management and utilization. Stakeholders recognize that the principles and guidelines should be further complemented by technical implementation guidelines tailored to specific ecological zones, purposes, mechanisms of growing, species groups, investors, etc.
Forest certification schemes may build upon or complement the implementation considerations by establishing procedures for and monitoring of technical standards and best practices for planted forest management. Additionally, some regional, national and private-sector forest management standards, guidelines, best practices and accords may already exist.
For effective implementation of the principles and guidelines, it is important to consider these selected cross-cutting issues:
• institutional roles;
• strategic and economic planning;
• stakeholder relations;
• learning and research; and
• operational planning and management.
One overriding consideration in the implementation and sustainable management of planted forest programmes is the long-term nature of forest investment. On one end of the scale, planted forests grown for industrial roundwood and fibre in short-rotation crops in tropical climates may have rotation lengths from establishment to harvesting of 5–10 years; in temperate climates, rotation lengths of 20–40 years; and in boreal climates, in excess of 50 years.
Whether planning, funding, securing land or access, or undertaking tending, silvicultural and protection operations in planted forest management, all decisions have long-term impacts – with social, cultural, environmental and economic dimensions – on the planted forest estate and on the wider landscape. The voluntary guidelines and implementation considerations will assist policy, legal, planning and management decision-makers and managers in making better long-term decisions and in undertaking more responsible actions to maximize the positive and minimize the negative impacts in planted forest investments and management.
Governments, the private sector (corporate and smallholder companies and associations), non-governmental and community-based organizations and other stakeholders have important and diverse roles to play in good governance (Principle 1), integrated decision-making and multistakeholder approaches (Principle 2) and effective organizational capacity (Principle 3). The roles of the respective stakeholders are determined by the unique combination of prevailing political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and geographic conditions.
Successful planted forest management requires that governments formulate policy, legal, regulatory and strategic planning frameworks providing enabling conditions, integrated decision-making and multistakeholder approaches in planted forest investment. These frameworks are supported by education and training, scientific research, stable investment conditions, sound technical knowledge, implementation guidelines, extension services and public awareness. Monitoring of compliance and law enforcement, assessment and reporting of planted forest management for subnational, national, regional and international purposes are also part of the role of government.
Governments can be investors in and managers of planted forests, particularly those fulfilling protective functions such as rehabilitation of degraded lands, combating of desertification and protection of soil and water. Governments may also be investors in and managers of planted forests for productive functions; however, this trend is downwards, as commercialization and privatization of government-owned, productive planted forests increase.
Private-sector entities, both corporate and smallholder, are the most active investors in planted forests; they can more easily mobilize the necessary resources and expertise. Education, training, scientific research, technical support services, extension and awareness-building among the public are increasingly being provided by the private sector or its associations and/or non-governmental organizations. Private-sector and smallholder associations can provide critical links to government and can encourage their members to adopt sound policies, plans and practices in integrated decision-making, multistakeholder participation, setting of operational standards, monitoring of compliance and assessment, and monitoring and reporting.
Trade unions, smallholder associations, community-based organizations and other stakeholders have to engage with government and private-sector investors to ensure that the needs and aspirations of workers, local communities, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, disadvantaged groups – and gender issues – are taken into consideration in planted forest management.
Environmental non-governmental organizations, scientists, academics and other stakeholders have to engage with government and private-sector investors to ensure that matters such as water supply and quality, biological diversity, use of chemicals, biotechnology, fire and invasive species are adequately addressed in planted forest management.
Providing a stable investment climate to build investor confidence is a responsibility only partly within the forestry sector. Other government sectors that impact enabling conditions for investment include, among others, departments of finance, planning, commerce, industries, agriculture, customs, labour and welfare.
Consideration of strategic and economic planning issues involves recognition of the value of goods and services (Principle 4); an enabling environment for planted forests investment, including taxes and fees (Principle 5); and recognition of the role of the market (Principle 6) at all levels – national to local. It also relates to integrated decision-making and multistakeholder approaches (Principle 2); recognition of social and cultural values (Principle 7); maintenance of social and cultural services (Principle 8); and integrated planning and management approaches within the landscape (Principle 12).
Strategic, economic and management planning should be applied to large- and medium-scale investments in planted forests. However, smallholders should also undertake a similar process in order to be confident that their investment will yield the intended goods and/or services.
In considering planted forest investments, it is necessary to: evaluate the investment conditions; determine the suitability of the site (ecological zone and landscape conditions); undertake socio-cultural and environmental baseline studies and impact assessments; evaluate status and trends in industries, markets, trade and consumers; survey labour markets, conditions, education and training; and ascertain government policies and public opinion.
If positive signals give the potential investor confidence, particularly with large-scale planted forest investments, then financial and economic feasibility studies, long-term strategic plans and medium-term management plans need to be undertaken and, where required, approved by government authorities. Similar procedures are valid for smallholders, but simpler planning procedures and studies are required.
Consideration of stakeholder relations is of particular relevance in: good governance (Principle 1); integrated decision-making and multistakeholder approaches (Principle 2); recognition of social and cultural values (Principle 7); and maintenance of social and cultural services (Principle 8).
Regardless of whether planted forest investment is for productive or protective functions, by government or a private investor, and on a large or small scale (corporate or smallholder investor), open dialogue, participation and the sharing of benefits by relevant stakeholders are important to success. This includes respect and facilitation of both ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’ open, cooperative communication to better understand needs, aspirations and proposed development programmes. The process should involve the establishment of consultation mechanisms with the potential for deeper and more trusting relationships and the possible development of partnerships, joint management or investment among corporate and smallholder investors – and even communities.
Where stakeholders are communities, they may not always be in a position to communicate confidently with government or the corporate private sector due to their limited capacity and capability. In these instances, reputable non-governmental, community-based or other organizations are encouraged to work with them to strengthen their capacity and capability.
Social, cultural, environmental, economic and physical landscape conditions may impact planted forests – and vice versa. As a long-term investment, planted forests require particular awareness and diligence at site-preparation, establishment, silvicultural, protection and harvesting interventions in order to avoid negative impacts. The benefits of planted forests accrue towards maturity at the end of the rotation. Early and regular consultations and outreach to stakeholders and the public are essential considerations throughout the planted forest rotation period if their concerns are to be addressed.
Consideration of the learning achieved through experience and scientific research applies across all 12 principles, but particularly to the economic (Principles 4–6), socio-cultural (Principles 7–8), environmental (Principles 9–11) and landscape-approach (Principle 12) issues.
Adopting a learning culture is essential – through a combination of scientific research, traditional knowledge, education, training and building upon past experience. Planted forest management is not only about planting trees; it involves planning, managing, protecting, utilizing and monitoring the forests in the landscape and watershed over their full rotation. The accelerating emergence of smallholder investors in planted forest investment requires technical support, extension, and market-access systems tailored to their particular needs.
Scientific, social and market research priorities should be established in relevant institutions. Trends in planted forest management (whether productive or protective, large scale or smallholder, government or private sector, long or short rotation) should be taken into consideration in reviewing the curricula of educational and training institutions (university, tertiary and artisan) and of continuing staff-development programmes through in-service training. Adequate, continued funding needs to be assured for education, training and research. Governments and other organizations should promote and provide extension support and services to help smallholders or local communities interested in planted forest investments.
Pilots, demonstrations and successful planted forest management can be used as learning sites – in which the application of scientific and traditional knowledge can be viewed in action through study tours and field trips. Publications and the Internet are also effective tools for sharing knowledge.
Considerations of operational planning and management primarily involve socio-cultural (Principles 7–8), environmental (Principles 9–11) and landscape-approach (Principle 12) issues.
Defining the objectives for planted forest management is important – whether it is primarily for productive or protective functions or a combination of both. Translating the chosen objectives into planted forest management within the context of the prevailing socio-cultural, environmental and economic landscape involves: interpreting market signals (whether goods or services); undertaking environmental, social and cultural baseline studies and impact assessments; determining the mechanisms for interaction and involvement with communities; deciding on the mechanisms for growing; undertaking infrastructure development; and selecting species, rotation, tending, silviculture, protection and harvesting specifications and suitable technologies.
Selected, major operational planning and management issues to be considered in planted forest planning and management – from establishment to harvesting – are discussed below. Issues include those relating primarily to: the environment (Principles 9–12), including genetic modification (GM), herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals, fertilizers, fires, spread of invasive species, maintenance and conservation of biological diversity and water; social and cultural issues (Principles 7–8), including the rights of indigenous peoples, community customary rights, land tenure, usufruct and employment; and economic principles (Principles 4–6), including incentives. While these key considerations are not unique to planted forests and pervade the forestry and agriculture sectors, this section highlights how these issues relate to planted forest management.
Biotechnology excluding genetic modification
The use of improved genetic material, even at provenance level, is fundamental to the success of planted forests. Most species present important intraspecific variability that has to be taken into consideration from the production, adaptation and conservation perspectives. The use of more advanced breeding programmes must consider the need for well-developed silvicultural techniques, genetic variability and ‘genotype x’ environment interactions. The use of non-GM biotechnology in conventional breeding programmes returns important benefits to planted forests, especially from the perspectives of productivity and forest health and vitality. However, the limitations and possible risks must be taken into consideration, for example the increased risks arising from a narrowing of genetic diversity in bred varieties.
Genetic modification technology
Genetic modification technology is still a relatively new tool in planted forest management. It has potential benefits and drawbacks, but it is not intrinsically good or bad. Each application of this technology to planted forests should be assessed on a case by case basis, under stringent national regulatory conditions, in order to recognize various risks, depending on the biology of trees, the type of genetic modification and how it is deployed in the field. The genetic traits of commercially important tree species most likely to be improved are insect resistance and wood quality, particularly changes in the composition and amount of lignin.
There is a potential for new technology and knowledge in the application of biotechnology, including genetic modifications, to ecological restoration and rehabilitation. As with the products of conventional breeding, genetic modification may entail some risks of gene transfer to breeding populations or wild relatives of a species, potentially leading to hybridization or introgression and other environmental impacts.
GM applications in planted forest management have thus become more than a technical issue: socio-cultural values and the multiple uses of forests need to be taken into account. Public acceptance is necessary if genetically modified forest trees are to be effectively introduced under strict, science-based regulatory conditions.
Validated and effective national and international regulations, strategies and guidelines, such as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, are necessary to the evaluation of risks and impacts associated with genetic modifications in planted forests.
The control of weeds, insects, diseases and other pests is critical to maintaining planted forest health and productivity. Currently, chemicals are widely used for such control measures; however, the environmental risks involved call for alternatives. Sound selection of species, provenances or hybrid reproductive materials with genetic traits tolerant to these biotic agents, timely maintenance of mechanical and manual tending, silvicultural operations and comprehensive protection monitoring and management can substantially reduce the risk of insect, disease and other pest outbreaks. Careful planning, management and monitoring of weeds, pests and disease threats in planted forests are the keys to maintaining acceptable levels of biosecurity.
Integrated-pest-management (IPM) programmes can improve the health, productivity and sustainability of planted forests – and also improve their ecological sustainability. IPM relies primarily on environmentally benign processes, including the use of pest-tolerant varieties, improved silviculture, protection and management practices, the actions of natural enemies and cultural control. IPM programmes are also economically sustainable: they reduce the manager’s dependence on expensive procured inputs, particularly over the rotational period. IPM programmes should be adopted – after risk assessment – where it is practicable and appropriate to do so.
In instances where mechanical, manual or grazing control of weeds or mechanical or cultural control of insects and diseases are not viable, or under conditions of major outbreaks of pests and diseases, or in conditions important to the success of planted forest establishment and management, the controlled and/or restricted use of herbicides, bio-pesticides, fungicides or other chemicals should be considered, including the potential environmental impact of their application. Use of the chemicals should be in compliance with regulations and standards and the International code of conduct on the distribution and use of pesticides (FAO, 2002).
Planted forests have a nutrient cycle from foliage to litter and thence back into the soil. Moreover, the long rotations and deep rooting systems of trees mean that the weathering of minerals may contribute sufficient nutrients to compensate for losses in harvesting.
However, fertilizers may be used in planted forests to provide healthy seedlings from nurseries; to replace soil nutrients removed in harvesting in short-rotation crops or lost through litter removal; to increase forest productivity when land is limited for new forest development; to provide nutrients on poor soils for the establishment of tree cover in site rehabilitation; and to provide one or more nutrients or trace elements that may be lacking, or in forms that are unavailable, but necessary for plant growth or forest product development.
A significant environmental issue regarding fertilizers in nurseries or in forest planting is over-application of fertilizer, with subsequent nutrient leaching into streams and watercourses, contributing to the eutrophication of water courses and lakes or the accumulation of heavy metals in the environment. The decision to apply fertilizers, in the field or in the nursery, should thus be based on soil, foliar and/or mycoflora analysis, and fertilizer should be applied in an amount to meet the need only.
Consideration should be given to the use of slow-release mineral fertilizers in order to minimize the risk of groundwater contamination or to the use of organic fertilizers, especially in nurseries. The application of fertilizers should be synchronized with periods of the fastest nutrient uptake to achieve minimal loss through leaching.
The application of fertilizers is expensive in the field, and thus the predicted economic benefits should be set against the costs. Certification schemes may discourage the use of fertilizers in planted forest management.
Fire can be a major threat to planted forests, particularly where dry litter builds up or an inflammable shrub layer develops. Fire may contribute to the loss of nutrients and to exposure of the soil to erosion. Smoke and other emissions from fires can be serious health hazards. While the release of greenhouse gases from fire is a natural phenomenon, the net release of carbon by wildfires – as a consequence of fire-induced site degradation and lowered carbon sequestration potential – is contributing to the human-induced increase of the greenhouse effect and global warming.
Planned burning is thus often used in planted forests to reduce the fuel load and avoid a catastrophic outbreak of wildfire, protect planted forests from such fire and, in some instances, stimulate natural regeneration of fire-dependent species. Fire is also frequently used in land clearing before tree planting. The threats to the soil are recognized, and alternative means of land preparation should be sought where feasible, especially on steep slopes.
Fire management in planted forests needs to be based on prediction, prevention and preparedness, supported by public awareness, monitoring, rapid response and community-based fire management. Fire weather prediction models have been developed in many industrialized countries, while developing countries are improving their capacity and capability for predicting, preparing and preventing destructive fires.
A valuable reference is Fire management: voluntary guidelines. Principles and strategic actions (FAO Fire Management Working Paper No. 17, 2006), which outlines voluntary guidelines for fire management, including in planted forests.
Since many introduced or exotic species may adapt to their new environment and regenerate prolifically, great care is required to ensure that such species serve the purposes of the planted forests. In particular, it is essential that they do not get out of control, generating unanticipated negative impacts on native ecosystems or agricultural lands or causing increased fire risk. Introduction of new species should be based upon strict scientific testing and effective regulatory controls.
Prevention is generally much more efficient and cost-effective than eradication and control in addressing the adverse impacts of invasive species. For this reason, decisions on introduced exotic species should be taken carefully, on the basis of a full consideration of the potential risks and benefits. In cases where exotic species are used, effective regulatory controls are important. Planted forests should be managed so as to reduce the possibility of tree and shrub species becoming invasive, particularly when they are well adapted to the environment and/or exhibit characteristics typical of invasive species.
The use of pioneer species with the potential to become invasive may be considered in combating desertification or for rehabilitating severely degraded lands. Their use should be based upon analysis of the risks and benefits – with the participation of stakeholders who understand the possible impacts and risks if introduced – and should be carefully monitored.
Biological diversity refers to diversity of flora and fauna, including micro-organisms, and the habitats that support them. At the ecosystem level, its dimensions include the species or gene. Planted forests may significantly reduce the biodiversity on some sites, depending upon management intensity, but they may enhance biological diversity in rehabilitating degraded lands, combating desertification or restoring landscapes. Planted forests can never replace the biodiversity value or benefit of naturally regenerating forests. However, they may reduce harvesting pressure on ecologically significant forest ecosystems elsewhere.
Planted forests should never replace primary forests, ecologically significant secondary forests or other important ecosystems with significant conservation values. These areas should be sustained within planted forest programmes, which should thus be based upon ecosystem-wide planning. Natural genetic diversity should also be sustained, and naturally regenerating forest corridors should be protected, to link blocks of natural forest.
Riparian reserves of naturally regenerating forests should be integrated into planted forest planning and management in order to link these areas and other habitats. It is important to maintain such reserves around lakes and wetlands and along watercourses, the width being determined by the size and permanence of the water body.
Indigenous species are to be preferred for planted forests where they meet the purposes for which the investment is intended or offer improved overall net ecosystem benefits, including for the wider ecosystem and the water balance. Introduced species should be selected in relation to specific management objectives, market conditions and ecological site conditions. Caution should be observed in using genetically modified trees, as their long-term impacts may not be known.
Within the planted forest, management should aim to develop or enhance the diversity of plants and animals. However, such an aim should be secondary in the case of productive planted forests grown for industrial roundwood or fibre supply and should not affect the economic viability or productivity of the planted forest. The use of mixed species and age classes and/or the encouragement of a healthy and diverse understorey in planted forests can promote diversity of associated plants and animals, which can in turn significantly improve forest values and sustainability.
Biodiversity can be encouraged in planted forests through the retention of riparian reserves and original forest remnants and corridors. Particular attention should be given to the role of planted forests in maintaining healthy populations of pollinators such as bees, bats and birds. This can be critical to sustaining nature in surrounding areas, but can also have significant economic benefits for agriculture.
Water provides many important ecosystem goods and services. It needs to be managed wisely, and activities that impact water involve trade-off decisions between the services it provides and the benefits of the activity. The economic value of water and the role of land-use activities in its sustainable use within watersheds need to be fully recognized. Water is not a ‘free’ good. Economic incentives should encourage more effective and rational water management (see Principle 4 on the recognition of the value of planted forest services, Principle 9 on the provision of environmental services, and the attribute of Principle 5 related to avoidance of perverse incentives, including in sectors other than forestry).
Establishing planted forests in arid and semi-arid areas requires careful selection and evaluation of species. Possible impacts on other land uses and on the sustainability of the water cycle should be considered, including both surface and ground water. The challenges are a mixture of both policy- and technology-related environmental and socio-economic considerations and options for integrated watershed management.
Planted forests may play a significant role in regulating water flows and improving water quality. They can be an important mechanism in rehabilitating catchments. As with naturally regenerating forests, they can regulate floods, reduce debris flows and stabilize land, thereby reducing soil erosion that would otherwise lead to excessive sedimentation in rivers and lakes. They can control soil and water salinity and improve soil stability to prevent landslides. Planted forests can thus improve environmental sustainability and the goods and services provided by both land and water when integrated with other watershed management initiatives.
Planted forests may also play an important role in urban and peri-urban localities, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas, by contributing to the recycling of waste water (phyto-remediation) from cities or from industrial activities, particularly where they enhance the functioning of wetlands.
It should not be assumed, however, that the impacts of planted forests are always positive. Inappropriate planting, particularly if using species with high water requirements, can deplete water resources, especially groundwater. This can have major impacts – and often beyond the planted area. Where possible, indigenous species adapted to local soil and water conditions should be used in preference to introduced species. Particular care should be taken in water-stressed and arid and semi-arid areas. Overuse of heavy equipment should be avoided, as this causes soil compaction and impedes hydrology.
The effect of planted forests on water cannot be generalized. Measures should be considered on a case by case basis according to ecological conditions, water resource distribution and availability, the species used and forest management objectives. In policy-making, planning and management, it is critical to keep in mind the impact of planted forests on water supplies and on maintaining equity in the distribution of water in the landscape. The objective should be to maintain the full suite of ecosystem services provided by water at desirable levels. To achieve this, it is important to carry out scientific studies to clarify the impacts of planted forests on water quality and quantity in different situations.
Land that is selected for planted forest investment may be subject to the rights held by indigenous and local communities for such activities as grazing, fodder, collection of traditional foods, medicines or firewood and other uses. Even apparently degraded land may be of great importance to the survival of the poorest, precisely because it is of no economic value to stronger members of the community.
Land selected for planted forests may also contain significant and/or sacred sites. This should be taken into account from the beginning and throughout the planning and management process. If planted forests are to contribute to socio-economic sustainability, indigenous and local community rights and privileges should be considered (see Principle 7).
In the development of planted forests, the rights of ownership and possession of lands that have been traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities should be recognized and respected. Such rights should be safeguarded, including the right to participate in the use, management and conservation of these resources and in any developments proposed to take place on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by them. Particular attention should be paid to the situation of nomadic peoples and shifting cultivators. Where the relocation of these peoples is considered necessary, as an exceptional measure, such relocation should take place only with their free and informed consent.
Socio-cultural-economic baselines and impact assessments1 should identify indigenous and local community rights and interests and assess their importance, with the full and effective participation of such peoples and communities, and paying particular attention to the rights of the poorest and of disadvantaged or marginalized sectors of the community, including women. Such rights should be formally recognized. Conflict resolution mechanisms should be established for the settling of disputed rights, or to determine compensation where the rights have to be temporarily or permanently extinguished.
Clarity of land tenure is important to the effective, sustainable development of planted forest programmes. Without secure tenure, the sustainable management of planted forests is not possible. Consequently, the full benefit flows are not possible – whether wood production or the provision of environmental and socio-economic services, including poverty alleviation. Private investors, large or small, corporate, smallholder or community, require the security not only of good governance but also of legal tenure to the land and the crops they own or rent.
Planted forests may be developed under different ownership mechanisms, with the increasing emergence of corporate/smallholder contracts or partnerships. Duration, assurance, robustness and excludability have been identified as being the main legal elements in secure tenure arrangements. While forest policy reforms may be introduced to encourage participation, the laws are often not changed to give clear, formal and long-term recognition of rights and responsibilities, or are not changed completely. Security of tenure may not be robust if all or certain rights are limited by time, or if decision-making power has not been fully devolved.
As with the issue of rights of access or use, the development of secure land tenure for planted forests will require consultation, conflict resolution and shared decision-making. The acknowledgement and recognition of customary rights may be necessary. Consultation with other land users will also be necessary. The opportunity may have to be taken to develop a new land-use policy and/or to resolve and harmonize conflicting land-use legislation that may impact tenure. Even decentralization may lead to conflict in tenure, or to marginalized groups being disadvantaged.
The potential of planted forests to contribute to rural development, including poverty alleviation, is well recognized and is particularly important during times of economic depression. Working conditions should provide safe practices, basic shelter, nutrition and social protection. Equitable sharing of economic benefits with the planted forest workforce is required if local communities are to enjoy the benefits of economic development and poverty reduction.
Planted forest programmes can contribute to rural development through paid employment and through training. The effect of planted forest programmes on rural development as a multiplier of employment at secondary (processing) and tertiary (service) levels can be considerable, especially when a significant portion of the wealth of such value-added activity remains in the local economy and among the forest-dependent workforce.
The establishment, maintenance, tending, silviculture, protection and harvesting of planted forests often involves the employment of unskilled and poorly paid people, resulting in a high employment turnover. In many countries, such work has been associated with high accident rates, fatalities and serious health problems. It is often dominated by men, although women are often employed in forest nurseries.
Contract labour may account for a large and growing share of the planted forest workforce in many countries. The contractors may not be covered by labour legislation and these workers may enjoy much less protection than workers in a formal working relationship. Under pressure to cut costs in a very competitive market, contractors may be forced to overextend themselves and their employees through a high pace of work and excessive working hours or to resort to illegal practices.
One key element in breaking the cycle of low productivity, low wages, high turnover and unsafe work is the empowerment of the forest workforce, smallholders and contract labour. Assisting them to form or strengthen associations helps ensure equitable distribution of benefits, in addition to building the basis for democratic governance. Vigorous enforcement of core labour standards of the International Labour Organization represents the minimum level of action required to create an enabling environment for the empowerment of large groups of forest workers.
Adequate training is another key element in breaking this cycle. Such training is most effective when designed and delivered by the major group (as defined in Agenda 21) to whom it is targeted. Provision should be made for on-the-job and vocational training for all forest workers, with particular emphasis on health and safety.
Wages, working time, working conditions and work organization arrangements to adapt working life to the demands of life outside work are core elements of the employment relationship and of workers' protection.
Incentives can be subsidies to reduce costs or to increase returns. They can also be applied in other forms of financial encouragement such as tax reductions and non-pecuniary support in the form of research and extension. The use of incentives needs to be rational and clearly justified in terms of forest or wider economic policies in order to avoid encouraging the wrong outcomes – for example, perverse incentives may encourage the conversion of naturally regenerating forests to planted forests. In the context of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, the usefulness of incentive measures was recognized by the conference of the parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Article II).2
The decision to establish any form of incentive for planted forest investment should involve investigation into the costs and returns for different investors – for example, corporations or smallholders may require quite different treatment – and into incentives that will cause the least distortion or scope for fraud. Analyses should consider the costs and benefits for both wood and non-wood forest products.
The administration of incentive schemes should be monitored, and care taken to ensure that incentives do not lead to planting that neglects maintenance or subsequent management. In the context of conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity, guidance on the design and implementation of incentive measures was endorsed by COP 6 of the convention (Decision VI/153).
There is a move from direct towards indirect incentives. Rather than paying subsidies to correct distortions in other parts of the economy that discourage planted forest investment, the emphasis is now on the elimination of those distortions and structural impediments and the creation of a business climate that encourages enterprise. Tax system reform may be required, or the elimination of administrative barriers that discourage the marketing of wood or wood products. The need to remove perverse incentives has been recognized by the COP of the convention (see in particular Decision IV/10A4 and Decision VII/185).
A new source of incentives of considerable potential for planted forest investment may be the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol (of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to promote forests as carbon sinks within the context of the Clean Development and Emissions Trading mechanisms.
1 Refer to Akwé: Kon guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessments regarding developments proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities (available at www.biodiv.org/doc/ref/tk-akwe-en.pdf).
2 Convention on Biological Diversity: Convention Text, Article II, Incentive Measures.
3 Convention on Biological Diversity: Proposals for the Design and Implementation of Incentive Measures, Annex to Decision VI/15.
4 Convention on Biological Diversity: Convention Decision IV/10A, paragraph 1f.
5 Convention on Biological Diversity: Convention Decision VII/18.