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World of forestry

European Forestry Commission Excerpts from the Report of the Commission

The FAO European Forestry Commission held its 25th Session in Oslo, Norway from 3 to 7 June 1991. The session was attended by delegates from 22 member countries and by observers or representatives from three additional countries and five international organizations.

The 17 th FAO Regional Conference for Europe

The Commission was informed about the 17th FAO Regional Conference for Europe, held in Venice, Italy in April 1990. The Commission noted that a number of national statements to the Conference had commented favorably on FAO's forestry activities in Europe, but expressed concern that forestry was not a substantial item on the agenda. Considering the importance of forests and forestry to the environment, as well as to agriculture and to overall rural land use, the Commission recommended that forestry be paid greater attention by future regional conferences. The Commission urged member countries to include forestry specialists in their delegations to the regional conferences.

European support for the Tropical Forestry Action Programme (TFAP)

The Commission recognized the important role that European countries had played from the beginning in intellectual and financial support of the TFAP. The Commission confirmed its support to the approach of country-driven TFAP exercises and to national projects for strengthening countries' capacities to plan and implement the TFAP. It noted that there were three essential functions that FAO was performing; namely, international liaison, technical assistance and operational support. It strongly recommended that FAO continue those functions but with more resources allocated to improve prospects of the programme's success in the future. The Commission also recognized that the global crisis involving the destruction of tropical forests was not just a forestry problem. It was felt, therefore, that much more attention needed to be given by those sectors external to forestry to technical inputs for the TFAP, through greater and meaningful interdisciplinary and intersectoral arrangements. FAO enjoyed a distinct comparative advantage in this area in that it had expertise in ail the disciplines related to land use. The Commission recommended that FAO take steps to ensure that multidisciplinary technical inputs are applied at all stages of planning and implementation of the TFAP.

Joint FAO/ECE/ILO Committee on Forest Technology, Management and Training

The Commission welcomed the initiative of the Joint Committee to develop activities in support of the economies of Central and Eastern Europe during this transition period, including the staging of a workshop, in Hungary in autumn 1991, on the organization and management of forestry under market economy conditions. Regarding how the Commission could help in the solution of forestry related transition problems, the Commission itself identified two possible areas where it could provide assistance: forest policy and legislation; and subsidization and taxation systems in forestry; also taking into account the provision of non-wood benefits.

The Commission took note of the themes identified by the Joint Committee which deserved particular attention: sustainable development; the protection of the forest resource from external threats; planning and management; the impact of mechanization on the forest environment; the working conditions of forest workers; training; and research. It agreed to carry out an enquiry to determine the extent to which these priorities were already covered in existing polices and legislation, and to determine whether the resources were available for implementing them.

The Commission stressed the importance of giving monetary values to the provision of non-wood goods and services

Joint FAO/ECE Working Party on Forest Economics and Statistics The Commission stressed the need for the collection and dissemination of forest and forest products statistics by international agencies to be coordinated as much as possible in order to reduce the workload of national reporting agencies, to avoid duplication and to ensure comparability of information. Accordingly, the Commission requested the Working Party and the Secretariat to explore the possibilities of formalizing the ad hoc collaboration that already existed with other organizations that were collecting or planning to collect statistics and managing data bases, notably the European Economic Community and Eurostat. The Commission invited the Working Party to look into the possibilities for undertaking a project to give monetary values to the provision of non-wood goods and services (non-wood benefits).

It recognized the complexity of the problem but stressed the importance for managers and policy-makers to have value information about the output of non-wood benefits, the importance of which was increasing in all countries. Possible activities in this field should be linked to the projects dealing with forest resource assessment and the outlook for non-wood benefits.

Preparations for the Fifth FAO/ECE Study of European Timber Trends and Prospects (ETTS V)

The Commission approved a set of terms of reference and a timetable for ETTS V. Under the timetable, the study should be published in the mid-1990s, with a time horizon to 2040 but with more detailed examination of the period to 2010. It noted with deep appreciation the offers of resources from several countries and repeated its invitation to other countries to come forward with offers of assistance, either by lending experts or contributions to the ETTS Trust Fund. The Commission agreed with the recommendations of the ETTS team that an ad hoc meeting of experts should be convened early in the preparation of ETTS V to identify emerging policy issues which needed to be considered both within and outside forestry, including agriculture, land use, industry, environment, housing, trade, employment, etc.

Programme of work of the European Forestry Commission, 1992 to 1996

The Commission adopted a programme of work for the years 1992 to 1996. Main areas of work will cover silvicultural operations and general management aspects; wood harvesting and transport; vocational training, applied ergonomics, occupational safety and health; and forest economics and statistics.

The Commission elected Mr E. Wermann of Germany to be Chairman of the next session, to be held jointly in 1993 with the ECE Timber Committee. Copies of the Report of the 25th Session of the European Forestry Commission may be obtained by writing to the Meetings Officer, FAO Forestry Department, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

Special African focus for Forest and Conservation History

The October issue of Forest and Conservation History, published quarterly by the Forest History Society in association with Duke University Press, contains a special focus on the forests of Africa. Articles include Njukiime Forest: transformation of a common property resource, by P. Castro; The decline of the Serenghetti Mara: an historical perspective, by H. Dublin; and The Budago forest, Uganda: an ecological and historical perspective, by J.D. Paterson. The historical perspective of these articles makes them an interesting complement to the wealth of articles currently appearing in technical and popular journals.

Forest & Conservation History

In addition, the issue features a round table discussion by ten scholars on current research regarding African humid tropical forests and the need for future conservation efforts.

After its founding in 1957, the journal was published until 1958 as the Forest History Newsletter, from 1959 to 1974 as Forest History, and from 1975 to 1989 as the Journal of Forest History. In 1990 its mandate was expanded to provide broader coverage of natural resource conservation. Subscriptions or individual copies of Forest and Conservation History may be purchased from the Forest Historical Society, 701 Vickers Avenue, Durham, North Carolina, USA 27701.

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