Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission
At the invitation of the Government of Republic of the Philippines, the fourteenth session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) was held in Manila from 12 to 16 March 1990. The session was attended by participants from 18 member countries, representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, and observers from Bhutan, the Asian Development Bank (AsDB) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).
After adoption of the agenda, the participants reviewed the state of forestry in the region.
Among the strategies pursued during the past few years were reforestation, implementation of social forestry projects, the practice of forest management through a system of strict implementation of allowable annual cut, establishment of more efficient forest industry practices, and the use of lesser known species and products from both natural and plantation forests. Many countries had initiated new measures for upland conservation through delineation of the forest boundaries and establishing community-based forest management and utilization schemes.
The Commission expressed concern, however, that deforestation continued in the region, and noted that indications were that the results of "Forest Resources Assessment 1990" would show a dramatic increase in the rate of deforestation from the 1.83 million ha a year in Asia recorded in 1980.
The Commission noted with interest some of the innovative policy changes and legal measures taken to encourage reforestation efforts in a number of countries - for example, the more autonomous forest management by forest owners in the Republic of Korea; the launching of "leasehold forestry" within the context of poverty alleviation and rural development in Nepal; contract reforestation involving upland communities in the Philippines; and forestry extension through Village Forest Societies (with women and schoolchildren playing a major role) in Sri Lanka.
Tropical Forestry Action Plan In the Asia-Pacific Region
The Commission discussed the Tropical Forestry Action Plan (TFAP) on the basis of an in-depth paper prepared by FAO staff (an adaptation of this paper was published in Unasylva 41(162)). The Commission strongly supported the TFAP and expressed its appreciation of and gave full support to FAO in its efforts to coordinate TFAP activities. The Commission noted with appreciation that TFAP and Master Plan exercises, consistent with the objectives of the TFAP, had been initiated in most countries of the region. Master Plan preparation had been completed or was ongoing in seven countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka. TFAP exercises had been started or proposed in eight countries: Fiji, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Viet Nam. China reported that its national planning was in line with TFAP principles. The Commission felt strongly that one of the important requisites for formulating arid implementing the TFAP was the strengthening or, where necessary, the creation of national forestry planning capabilities.
In upland areas of the Philippines, contract reforestation is being promoted
The Commission agreed that the Tropical Forestry Action Plan presented tremendous scope for technical cooperation among countries in the regions. Thus the Commission recommended that FAO explore the possibility of initiating subregional TFAP exercises, where appropriate, in the region.
Recent developments in International forestry research
The Commission considered recent developments against the background of the need to reorient and strengthen forestry research as recognized at the Seventeenth World Congress of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) in September 1981 and subsequent initiatives taken during the 1980s.
The Commission took particular note of the strong support given to forestry research by the Bellagio I meeting (July 1987), where it was stated unequivocally that technical, biological, socioeconomic and policy research must be intensified. The Commission expressed appreciation of the recommendations of the Bellagio II meeting (November 1988) and the subsequent expansion of the mandate of the FAO/UNDP/ World Bank Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) with a separate Technical Advisory Committee for forestry, and observed that these were significant developments from a regional perspective which could lead to an increased flaw of funds for forestry research. The Commission recommended that FAO take measures to enhance developing countries" capabilities to absorb and effectively use the research results from the expanded CGIAR.
The Commission unanimously endorsed the establishment of the Informal Network of Forestry Research Managers (INFORM) and the regional project proposal "Forestry Research Support Programme for the Asia-Pacific Region" (FORSPA).
Forest industries and the environment
The Commission considered the effect on the environment of activities linked to forest industries. It observed that the environmental effect of forest harvesting activities depended on the methods and systems used; use of the carabao in the Philippines and the elephant in Sri Lanka were cited as examples of logging methods suited to their environments. When mechanized harvesting methods were employed, detailed planning and selection of harvesting methods and equipment should be undertaken well in advance of logging operations.
The Commission noted that logging roads were often of great benefit to local communities, as they provide access to markets and trigger the creation of supportive infrastructure needed for development. The Commission also recognized that logging roads often provide access to settlers and shifting cultivators, leading to deforestation and degradation of tropical forests. However, it was noted that the major issues to be addressed in minimizing this type of environmental damage were much wider than forestry and related to alleviation of poverty and provision of alternative income opportunities.
The Commission observed that there was ample scope for development of both large- and small-scale forest industries that were environmentally sound, but that further research into specific aspects needed to be carried out.
The Commission noted that environmental impact assessments of forestry operations were now mandatory in some countries of the region. It urged that governments set up mechanisms for sustained dialogue with logging companies and forest industries to ensure their support for environmentally sound development.
Progress reports of study groups on forestry education and research
The Commission also considered the activities of the ad hoc Study Groups on Forestry Education and Forestry Research.
It noted that approximately 120 forestry schools in 17 countries of the Asia-Pacific region offered professional-level forestry education. Most colleges had adequate faculty strength. Holders of doctoral degrees among faculty students were reported from several countries, although very few institutions offered either MSc or PhD degrees. The Commission noted that the curricula of various faculties needed revision to ensure that forestry education was geared to serve the changing needs of the profession.
The Commission endorsed the view that comparability of curricula, credits and examination systems should be ensured in order to maintain the quality of forestry education offered by the institutions in the region.
It strongly urged that training in forestry sciences be strengthened and reinforced through greater "specialization" and incorporation of the new dimensions of knowledge needed to carry out forestry tasks in a complex world characterized by interlocking social, economic and environmental dimensions.
For more information on the fourteenth session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission, contact the Meetings Officer, FAO Forestry Department, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
Transforming sawdust into fodder
With the object of making profitable use of a by-product of forest industry, a group of professionals at the University of Chile has achieved the laboratory conversion of sawdust into a vitamin supplement for livestock.
According to Juan Donoso, Director of the Wood Technology Department of the Faculty of Forestry Engineering, "We focused on searching for a means of utilizing radiate pine sawdust because no matter how sophisticated the wood-sawing processes are, they always leave a considerable quantity of this residue."
Sawdust contains a large quantity of lignin - typical of woody tissue - which is not easily broken down by the gastric juices of animals. "Sawdust presents a number of dispersed chemical elements that form different structures within the wood," explains Donoso. "These elements can be united using fungi, thus forming proteins. Furthermore, the fungi have the particular property of breaking up these structures and performing a kind of predigestion which makes these dispersed elements highly soluble and increases their digestibility."
Donoso indicated that, in order to find the most effective fungi which would allow higher productivity, more than 60 species had been tested.
Laboratory experiments have been carried out with semi-solid and liquid cultures, mixtures of sawdust, water and fungi. The semi-solid cultures increased sawdust digestibility from 0.8 percent to 14 percent, and increased protein content from 2 percent to 30 percent. The results of the liquid cultures have not yet been processed, but are expected to produce comparable or even better results, and have the added advantage of being easier to work with, especially in the large quantities mat would be required for commercial use.
Pine sawdust - raw material for animal fodder?
The digestibility tests conducted so far have been in vitro; a large quantity of culture is now being prepared to permit testing on live animals. "We need to learn how to improve and better manage each variable in the process, independently from the fungus itself. We already have clear and evident results but we want to optimize them to me utmost. I estimate that within one year we will have permanent results," Juan Donoso remarks.
The potential benefits of me project are significant, says Donoso. "On me one hand they will permit efficient and profitable use of a previously wasted component, and on the other they will help to reduce accumulation of this residue which often causes fires, water and air contamination, etc."
Source: Chilean Forest News, Feb-March, 1990.
World Forestry Congress themes
Under me general theme "Forests, a heritage for the future", the programme of the Tenth World Forestry Congress (Paris, 17-26 September 1991) has been divided into 25 themes and 97 topics grouped into 6 discussion areas. The list of themes is reproduced in its entirety.
Trees in urban environments will be covered under Discussion area C
DISCUSSION AREA A
The forest, a protective heritage
Forests and climate
· Forest and microclimate
· Reforestation and deforestation: their potential effect on climate
· Impact of possible global warming on forest ecosystems
· Forest products and the atmospheric carbon cycle
Conservation of soils and water
· Forest hydrology
· Forest-soil interaction
· Prevention and control of erosion and natural hazards
Assessment of forest benefits in economic and social terms
· The case of industrialized countries
· The case of developing countries
DISCUSSION AREA B
Conservation and protection of the forest heritage
Protection against biotic and abiotic pressures
· Against atmospheric pollution
· Against climatic hazards
· Against diseases and insects
· Against overexploitation
Protection against fire
· Prevention and control
· Role of forest fires in silviculture
· Ecological and economic consequences of forest fires
Ecosystems and genetic resources
· Protection and management of forest ecosystems
· Protection and management of forest genetic resources
· Socio-economic values of biological diversity
· Role of remote-sensing in monitoring of ecosystems
· International financing mechanisms for the conservation of forest
DISCUSSION AREA C
Trees and forests in the management of rural areas
Integrated management of rural areas
· Management of forest lands and the integration of forestry into rural development
· Balance between agricultural lands and forests. The case of industrialized countries: abandoned farmlands, afforestation
· Balance between agricultural lands and forests. The case of developing countries: deforestation, conversion to agriculture
· Land tenure problems in tropical areas
· Agroforestry: its role, importance and promotion
· Role of forests in mountainous areas: technical aspects
· Interactions between upstream and downstream areas: economic aspects
· Development plans in arid tropical zones
· Techniques for rehabilitation of silvipastoral ecosystems in arid zones
· Requirements for training of personnel for arid zone development
Social, cultural and landscape functions of trees and forests
· Trees and green areas in urban environments
· Establishment and management of pert-urban green belts
· Forests and landscape
· Forests, culture and society
DISCUSSION AREA D
Management of the forest heritage
Assessment and monitoring of forest resources
· Adaptation of national and subnational forest inventories to planning need
· Recent statistical methods for design and analysis of forest inventories
· Remote sensing as a tool in forest resources assessment and inventory
· The use of geographical information systems (GIS) as a tool in forestry
· New developments in computerization in forest management
· Management of tropical forests
· Management of forests for non-wood products: social economic costs and benefits
· Management of fragile ecosystems: mangroves, riverine forests, high-altitude forests
· Silvipastoral management
Afforestation and reforestation
· Reproductive material, genetic improvement
· Selection and plantation of species and provenances in relation to sites and objectives
· Plantations of fast-growing species for tropical areas
· Wasteland afforestation
· Plantation silviculture
Forest wildlife management
· Research on agro-silvi-wildlife interactions in temperate zones
· Tropical wildlife management
· Adaptation of legislation and institutions for improved wildlife management
· Wildlife farming
· Social and economic values of wildlife
DISCUSSION AREA E
The forest heritage, an economic resource
· Present knowledge and perspectives on usable forestry resources
· Products control and sustainability of forest resources
· Forest exploitation and environmental conservation
· Production, harvesting, processing, marketing and promotion of non-wood forest products
Wood, a source of energy
· Production, harvesting and trade in wood energy
· Wood utilization for household and rural industries
· Perspectives for utilization of wood energy
Timber, a raw material
· Production and trade in timber for forestry industries Costs of timber
· New technologies and utilization of timber
· Incentives for local utilization of timber
· Prospects for the development of forest industries
· Tropical timber: present state, local utilization, employment prospects
Marketing of timber and wood products
· Trade and prospects by product and geographic zone
· Effects of national policies and international agreements on production, processing and trade of timber
· Effects of competition between materials and between cellulose sources on timber demand
· Mid-term prospects of the forest-timber industries sector
DISCUSSION AREA F
Policy and institutions
The forestry administrations
· Responsibilities and administrative structures at ministerial level
· Modernization and decentralization of forestry administrations
Wood as a source of energy will be covered under Discussion area E
The private sector
· Forest owners; their professional organizations; inheritance of forest estate
· Small-scale forestry enterprises and the utilization of forest products
· Human resources in forestry
· Associations of rural communities; farm and community forestry
· Associations for protection of environment and forests
· Role of NGOs and other private associations
The public sector
· Territorial organizations
· Parastatal structures for management of public forestry sector
Forest policy and planning
· Methods and structures for the elaboration of national forest policies
· Forestry planning and its integration with social and economic development plans
· Tools of forest policies: legislation, financial and fiscal incentives
Forestry education and training
· Forestry education at university level
· Forestry education at technical level
· Training of forestry workers
· Forestry training of forest owners
· Information and raising of people's awareness
· Conclusions and results of IUFRO Congress in Montreal
· Organization of tropical forestry research; priority themes
· International cooperation in forestry research: between institutes, between countries
International forestry cooperation
· International agreements on protection, management and utilization of forest ecosystems
· International cooperation agencies and donors
· International cooperation agencies' interventions in beneficiary countries
· Non-governmental organizations
· Action programmes in developing countries: example of TFAP.