Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Forests and Latin America

The role of forests within an integrated agrarian policy
Foresters and decision-making
Modernizing forestry legislation and financial incentives
Mechanization and rationalization of forest work

A SECOND SERIES sessions included in the congress programme was arranged to produce an analysis of the present contribution of the agriculture/forestry sector to the social-economic development of the countries of the region where the congress was being held. The intention was to include also the role of forest industries in the economic evolution of Latin America.

The lead-in to the discussions was an address by Armando Samper, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Latin America who heads the FAO Regional Office in Santiago, Chile.

J. Veruete Fuentes (Mexico) and C. Claverie Rodríguez (Venezuela) were nominated by the General Commitee as congress vice-presidents for these sessions. On each subject matter views were exchanged between the members of selected panels before general discussion was invited. Following is a summary of the conclusions reached.

The role of forests within an integrated agrarian policy

Vice-chairman: C. EUGENIO THIBAU (Brazil)
Moderator: F. BARRIENTOS (Spain, formerly FAO)


Panellists (contd):
J.H. CRAVENS (United States)
I. ESTRADA (Mexico)
O. MORETTI (Argentina)
F. RUAN RUAN (Colombia)
J. TOHA (Chile)

1. It was agreed that agrarian policy should be approached from the integral point of view, involving a process of agrarian reform based on the needs of each country.

The whole potential of forests and forest land should be included within the framework of this integral agrarian policy.

2. The important role of the state as the owner of and responsible for fiscal forest land was specially stressed, as were the negative aspects of the insecurity of short-term land holding. It was pointed out that political measures for the development of forest resources on lands subject to agrarian reform should give due consideration to the interests of rural populations. In this connexion it is necessary to stress the total lack of proportion between the heavy responsibilities laid upon the forestry services charged with the enforcement of such policies and the small resources available for their execution.

3. The deforestation of a wooded area for agricultural development as part of a programme of agrarian reform should be carried out only on the basis of a study to determine the best use of the lands for the common good.

4. Reference was made to the serious problems of uncontrolled forest destruction in Latin America, attributed mainly to the predominance of individual over common interests which, in large measure, reflects an inefficient agricultural structure.

To avoid this situation, stress was laid on the advisability, parallel with the process of agrarian reform, of developing areas of forest prosperity by promoting the use of the raw materials and subsequent industrialization, and so affording opportunities of employment that complement agricultural/livestock activities. In this way the rural settler would develop a new attitude which would result in his becoming a strong defender of forest resources.

5. Emphasis was placed on the frequency with which numerous processes of urban reform fail to incorporate forest resources, the result of which is the partial achievement of objectives and a recurring threat to forestry. For this reason it was agreed that there is a need for land-use planning which includes forests and forest lands, and in which professional foresters should have active participation.

6. The determination of forest zones for industrialization of their products in areas of socioeconomic de pression may represent an important opportunity for the global development of the area, provided that the forestry projects are integrated in general socioeconomic development, including agriculture, livestock, craftsmanship, tourism and other activities, and with the necessary infrastructure and related services.

7. The availability of denuded forest lands for rapid growth forests in agrarian reform areas should serve as the basis for executing forestry projects that seek a constant annual rate of labour employment and a supply of raw materials for industrial development.

8. The technical management of forest resources, the training of labour, as well as the development and improvement of existing institutions, are three important guidelines for promoting continuing forest development and the sustained progress of rural populations. The association of forest workers, which will allow them to exercise their lawful rights and effective participation in the taking of decisions, was also stated to be necessary.

9. Finally. there was a consensus that, pursuant to the aspirations of governments, the development and improvement of forestry techniques should be based on the social condition of the environment; the fundamental premise is service to the community.

Foresters and decision-making

Chairman: C. EUGENIO THIBAU (Brazil)
Vice-chairman: J. VERUETE FUENTES (Mexico)
Moderator: D. COZZO (Argentina)

K. ARNOLD (United States)
C. BAZAN (Peru, formerly FAO)

Panellists (contd):
R. CARRETERO (Argentina)
V. HARPER (United States)
R. KLAGGES (Chile)
L. SANGRI (Mexico)
J. DE VAISSlÈRE (France)

1. It was agreed that the main reason for the small part played by forests in economic and social development in recent times is the defective institutional organization of the forestry sector in developing countries and it was considered, in this respect, that existing forest legislation, the structure of forestry services and the condition of forest education. research and extension are the principal institutional barriers to the rapid promotion of forest development.

2. When discussing the raising of the political and institutional status of forestry services, a hiatus was found to exist between those responsible for planning regional development policies and those who carry out these plans. Forestry services as such must be able to participate in a greater measure in decision-taking on a governmental level, and in many cases this would require great changes in the future role played by these services within the structure of governments.

3. It is the more necessary to modernize these services in Latin America and in other developing countries so that the actions of foresters may create a corresponding awareness among legislators, ministers and planners. In this respect, it is evident that the existing lack of communication is attributable not only to the indifference or disassociation of the politicians responsible for government action, but also to the lack of initiative on the part of forest specialists, who should expound the views of the sector more aggressively. It was considered that greater activity and vigour would raise the political and institutional status of forestry services; to consolidate this policy, qualified professional staff should be added to the technical corps.

4. The importance of a political and economic training for professional foresters to facilitate their intervention on a government level was stressed, and it was contended that the forester must participate in the integrated administration of forest resources through his own disciplines, with a spirit of comprehension which will enable him to counsel the planning services. In this way, with a fuller individual and collective training, he will reach the highest strata of the government sector, raising the status of the functions of foresters.

5. It was considered necessary to broaden the academic training of the forestry engineer, giving emphasis to the political/economic sciences, for the purpose of harmonizing with the changing dynamic of development. The enlarged curriculum should also incorporate industrialization and the multiple use of forests, so that the professionals of the sector may be in a position to prepare concrete preinvestment projects.

6. When dealing with the role of forestry associations in development, it was pointed out that such institutions enjoy an excellent position from which to take the technology resulting from research to the environment that will have to utilize it, and furthermore they constitute the efficacious factor of providing counsel as to the best means of creating a forestry sense in the public environment.

7. It was pointed out that forestry associations could implement numerous actions in support of forestry development, among which the following may be stressed: opinion-sounding to identify the public sectors to which their operations should be directed; encouraging channels of communication; organizing forestry lectures for the education of the public in general; publishing books and pamphlets intended for popular education.

8. It was also agreed that neither individual nor collective action should be confined within strictly academic : or scientific boundaries: both should extend to the political plane. To this end, professional forestry associations can exercise a dynamic action in the community in for favour of the development of forestry through energetic publicity campaigns aimed at public opinion in general and the government sector in particular.

Modernizing forestry legislation and financial incentives

Chairman: C. CLAVERIE RODRÍGUEZ (Venezuela)
Moderator: LUCAS TORTORELLI (Argentina. Formerly FAO)

O. D'ADAMO (Argentina, formerly FAO)

Panellists (contd):
E. GOYENECHE (Argentina)
T. NELSON (United States)
N.A. OSARA (Finland, formerly FAO)
C. WIEBECKE (Fed. Rep. of Germany)

1. The need was stressed for developing countries to promulgate basic forest laws for the rapid evolution of the forest sector on rational bases. It was generally agreed that in the past forest legislation had not been enacted for development but as a repressive instrument, to prevent the misuse of the forest.

2. Attention was called to the present importance acquired by natural forests and afforestation and reforestation in a world that is requiring progressively more wood and forest products. It was stated that there is a growing awareness of the possibilities afforded developing countries by forest products and their use in industry, as well as of the protective and recreational functions of the forest through its management for multiple use, and that it is of the utmost importance to determine a policy of fiscal incentives, or of any other kind, to invigorate development of the sector in accordance with the peculiar characteristics of each region.

3. Basic legislation should concentrate on stressing general norms that permit its flexibility to the dynamic of changing situations of economic and social development in general and of forestry in particular, by means of the promulgation of decrees, regulations and subsidiary provisions. It should be administered through a national organ at the highest level equipped to deal efficaciously with forestry objectives and policy.

4. There was agreement with respect to the necessity of declaring specific environments as being a public utility; this means to say that in view of the influence of the forest on environmental conditions it will be necessary to implement forest management in such a way that the interests of the community in general prevail over those of individuals in particular. The protective character of the forest as a vital factor of environmental conservation should imply a legal limitation to the right of ownership. But forests that are classified as producers in the national interest, whatever may be the condition of ownership, should be managed in accordance with principles of sustained and maximum yield. Similar legal treatment is merited other renewable natural resources that constitute the natural patrimony, the basis of collective well-being.

5. Legislation should establish that the definition of forests and forest lands as well as the establishment of their different functions within the general body of the law should be undertaken by qualified forestry personnel.

6. In general, the great mass of natural forests was not included in the framework of forest development due to the lack of adequate legal bases that would permit their exploitation in long-term forest management plans to ensure the continued existence and improvement of forest resources and, eventually, efficient industrial development.

7. The planning of the industrial development of forests, its practice and the marketing of forest products must be included in forest legislation.

8. In view of the favourable ecological conditions in developing countries, it is considered that in order to obtain, within a short period of time, ligneous raw material for forest industries, legislation should be enacted to promote the granting of financial incentives, such as domestic and international long-term credit with low interest rates, tax exemptions, etc., and so advance the development of this sector.

9. A forestry fund of a cumulative nature should be created to support the provisions of this legislation. This fund should be financed from the revenue accruing from grants of rights, additional charges and rates, as well as by aforos or taxes collected for the utilization of forests, inspection rights, expert assessment, technical forestry services, sales of timber and forestry products, etc.

10. In the strategy for the development of financial incentives, and in the interest of forest protection, it is considered that capital investment should be given special consideration and not treated as an ordinary financial investment. For profitable forestry investment, it is believed that systems of tax deductions should be applied to the investment, and tax exemptions on revenue; this acquires importance for the promotion of forest plantings for industrial purposes.

11. As regards credit incentives it is believed that credits should be long-term national and international (up to 25 years) at interest rates not exceeding 7 percent and amortization after 10 years. It is considered that investors should not be obliged to run the risks of exchange fluctuations; recourse might be had to a surcharge for that purpose, or use might be made of the forestry fund or other resources. These measures should also be applied to wood industries, for which each country would determine its own priorities.

12. Incentives should diversify according to the peculiar characteristics of each region. This is valid both for a country as well as for regions that comprise various countries. Those for whom the incentives are designed should undertake to comply with the technical specifications that will guarantee appropriate management of the forest resources; they should also cooperate with research programmes that are established, and in any consequent social obligations.

13. International and national banks and promotional institutions that grant incentives for the management of national man-made forests for the development of forest industry in the developing countries should establish similar or even more favourable conditions than those recently established by the Inter-American Development Bank.

Mechanization and rationalization of forest work

Chairman: G. JAIME TOHA (Chile)
Vice-chairman: H. CALDEVILLA (Uruguay)
Moderator: H.J. STEINLIN (Fed. Rep. of Germany)

V. FOSSA (Chile)

Panellists (contd):
R. GONZÁLEZ (Argentina)
J.C. HERRERA (Argentina)
J. DE LA MAZA (Spain)
L.B. SANDAHL (Sweden, formerly FAO)

1. The mechanization of forest tasks has had a rapid evolution. When applied in favourable conditions, it affords economic, social, technical and biological advantages, which encourages the hope that it is a field of action which will constantly expand in those countries where it is utilized and extend to those where it has not yet been adopted. However, there are some negative aspects that should be considered, such as the effects of contamination of the environment, the danger of accidents, and damage to the soil.

2. The principal function of mechanization is to increase productivity, with consequent reduction of costs. at the same time assuring better conditions for the forest worker. In order to ensure the maximum benefits it is necessary that an economic analysis be made of the costs and other elements of each particular operation.

3. Although it is true that in general mechanization implies obvious advantages in the most developed countries, in countries in the course of development its application should be aligned with more general objectives, as for example, defining the working conditions that represent a situation of full employment.

4. In countries in the early stages of development there should be a thorough rationalization of forest tasks before mechanization is adopted. The results could be of the utmost importance; financial problems could be averted and also the displacement of labour which is inherent in mechanization.

5. Existing technologies come from developed countries where the prevailing conditions differ substantially from those of countries in the course of development. It is dangerous to introduce those technologies indiscriminately.

6. This makes it necessary for the developing countries to evolve their own technologies, which will lead to the activation of industry as well as decreasing their foreign dependence, both economically and technically.

7. Under certain conditions and according to the site, the use of machinery is fundamental in the preparation of the soil in order to obtain a better yield in man-made plantations. It has also been demonstrated that subsequent tending combined with the use of fertilizers leads to substantial increases in yield.

8. Thinnings are expected to become less important for several reasons (changes in the demand for forest products, new techniques for forest management). That is why mechanization for this purpose has not received very much attention and the development of new techniques will be confined to specific cases for resolving local problems.

9. Mechanization is easier on flat ground, in large areas and in homogeneous forests. The economic use of all other types of forests is a problem that is daily acquiring greater importance, and the development of an appropriate technology for work under increasingly difficult conditions, particularly on uneven terrain and in heterogeneous forests, will have to be given careful study.


(¹ Papers submitted to the congress were of two kinds:" General papers" and" Special papers.")


Arnold, R.K.

The status of forest services within the structure of government machinery: adapting to change

Bazan, F.

La intervención del forestal en la planificación a nivel gubernamental del manejo integrado de los recursos naturales

Bianchi Sweron, H.

Areas forestales en regiones de intensa presión social

Burgos Martinez, F.

Reserva de areas específicamente forestales en regiones de intense presión demográfica

d'Adamo, O.

Desarrollo forestal y desarrollo económico de America Latina

de la Maza, J.

La integración de la selvicultura y de la mecanización

de Vaissière, J.

Participation du forestier dans la planification, au niveau gouvernmntal de l'aménagement intégré des ressources naturelles

Fossa, H.

Progresos y problemas de la mecanización forestal en relación a las técnicas de la silvicultura moderna

Harper, V.L. & Callaham, R.Z.

The future role of societies of forestry in developing countries

McGuire, J.R.

Forestry as part of national development and progress

Micheli Saavedra, H.

Análisis sobre la generación de la dependencia tecnológica. Algunos criterios fundamentales para la estrategia de desarrollo forestal en los países subdesarrollados

Nelson, T.C.

Implementation of incentives to stimulate forestry development

Osara, N.A.

Investment programmes for forestry development

Silversides, C.R.

Progress and problems in the mechanization of forest work in relation to modern silvicultural techniques

Sundberg, U.

Social and economic repercussions of the progress made in the mechanization and rationalization of forest operations

Wiebecke, C.

The modernization of forestry legislation and government financial incentives to accelerate forest development


Sorbi, U.

Formes associatives modernes-instrument d'incentivation écologique en forêt et montagne dans le cadre d'une politique agricole intégrée

Veiga, R.A.A. et al.

Social-economic aspects in the Brazilian development through the fiscal incentives

General papers were those submitted at the invitation of the Organizing Committee, with the purpose of presenting a comprehensive analysis of a specific topic, to serve as a basis of discussion.

Special papers were those presented voluntarily by their authors.


Papers of the seventh World Forestry Congress may be obtained only from
Ing. Agr. J.A. Castiglioni
Comite de Documentos y Actas
VII Congreso Forestal Mundial
Pueyrredón 2446
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page