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Considerable progress has been made in recent years in the introduction of environmentally sound forest harvesting practices in many parts of the world. Nonetheless, much remains to be done. There is a continuing need to refine harvesting systems and techniques so that they become fully compatible with the objectives of sustainable forest management, allowing them to contribute in an important way to the economic and social aims of sustainable development. This document is one response to this need. Its primary objective is to promote forest harvesting practices that improve standards of utilization and reduce environmental impacts, thereby contributing to the conservation of forests through their wise use.
The information provided in this model code of forest harvesting practice has been compiled with the intent of highlighting the wide range of environmentally sound harvesting practices that are available to forest managers, especially those requiring only a modest level of investment in training and technology. This will permit policy-makers to develop national, regional or local codes of practice that will best serve the particular needs of government agencies, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and other constituents.
To ensure the feasibility of the forest harvesting practices described in this document, two international workshops were held to critique an earlier draft. Review copies of the draft were also sent to a large number of forestry experts around the world. To the maximum extent possible, comments and suggestions from both the workshops and the individual reviewers have been incorporated into this revised version. The FAO model code of forest harvesting practice, therefore, is a document that has undergone unusually extensive review by experts in FAO member countries, universities, research institutes, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.
Although it constitutes a potentially important contribution on international forest practices, this document is not meant to stand entire on its own. Rather it is intended to complement other contributions on sustainable forestry that have been published in recent years by the FAO Forestry Department and by organizations such as the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), among others.
A preview edition of the FAO model code of forest harvesting practice was produced in English only as a contribution to the March 1995 meeting of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO). This redesigned final edition will also be published in French and Spanish in the near future.
David A. Harcharik
FAO Forestry Department
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