Dedicated to Unasylva readers
Most issues of Unasylva focus on a specific theme. The objective of this thematic orientation is to examine in depth a given aspect of forest and forestry development in order to highlight its significance and importance within our wider universe. The aim is not to serve as a primer or textbook on the chosen subject (this clearly would he impossible given the limited size of the journal) but rather to present a series of analyses on specific aspects that help to spark interest and awareness. These articles are commissioned from experts in the sector, based on the recommendations of the Unasylva Editorial Advisory Board. The articles have been tailored in such a way as to be of interest and relevance to readers whose work focuses on the theme in question as well as to the majority of readers who are experts in other disciplines.
Complementing the articles focusing on a given theme, each issue of Unasylva also endeavours to provide space for independent articles, often received as voluntary contributions from our readership. This function is seen as a forum for expression, a fundamental part of the journal's mandate. And yet, the complexity of the thematic issues addressed has often required the inclusion of many articles within the thematic focus, leaving relatively little space for independent articles. This creates a situation where independent articles are either not published or are published as much as a year after they are submitted. Therefore, after a World Forestry Congress Dossier, containing the Antalya Declaration, plus the opening addresses by Ersin Taranoglu, Turkish Minister of Forestry and Congress Chair, Jacques Diouf, FAO Director-General, and Süleyman Demirel, President of Turkey, this issue of Unasylva is dedicated to voluntary contributions.
The first article, by J.J. Kennedy, M.P. Dombeck and N.E. Koch, considers changing perspectives on the management of state-owned forests, arguing strongly for a broader, more holistic approach. The analysis is rendered even more interesting by the fact that, since its submission to Unasylva, co-author Michael Dombeck has been named Chief of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Budget crises are leading to reduced public expenditures in the area of forestry research in many countries around the world. The potential of private investment as a complement to or even a substitute for public spending is often considered but generally in a theoretical fashion. The article by E. Hellström, M. Palo and B. Solberg uses empirical findings from two European studies to take a close look at the situation. The authors conclude that private investment cannot and should not be expected to substitute for public funding, and they make recommendations as to how support for public funding of forestry research could be boosted.
The rate of tropical deforestation is one of the foremost concerns in the world of forestry today. Determining this rate requires accurate current information as well as valid historical records. The article by J. Fairhead and M. Leach suggests that, primarily owing to imprecise estimates of past forest cover, current estimates of West African deforestation over the course of the twentieth century may be significantly exaggerated.
The rest of the articles in this issue of Unasylva are adaptations of voluntary papers submitted to the Eleventh World Forestry Congress. This is part of the commitment made in the previous issue of the journal to tap the wealth of information produced for the Congress, particularly the best of the voluntary papers, which might not otherwise receive the attention they merit.
The role of forest plantations in helping to attain sustainable forest management overall is the subject of intense debate. There is little doubt that future supplies of forest products will come increasingly from intensively managed plantations. One fundamental question regards the requirements to enable plantations to produce supplies of constant quantity and quality over time. The article by J. Evans reviews available evidence and reports recent findings from a comparison of three successive rotations of pine in the Usutu Forest, Swaziland.
The article by C. Barthod puts into perspective discussions on criteria and indicators for sustainable temperate forest management. Focusing on experiences since 1992, the article discusses outcomes of the Helsinki and Montreal Processes, including challenges that have been identified but not yet resolved. The importance of cultural factors in identifying criteria and indicators is highlighted. S.T. Murphy reviews the impact of pests on forestry and agroforestry in Africa and current control actions. The article concludes with a proposal for a coordinated regional approach, based on the recommendations of an International Consultative Meeting of Forestry Directors and Policy-Makers, convened in Kenya in 1995.
The final article, by R. Carneiro de Miranda, analyses the theory and practical application of forest replacement schemes in Latin America, a model aimed at achieving a sustainable and ecologically sound supply of fuelwood for industrial consumers.
With the next issue, Unasylva will return to its thematic orientation, focusing on the objectives and outputs of the Global Fibre Supply Study currently being conducted by FAO. However, Unasylva continues to solicit articles as well as feedback from its readers and, periodically, future issues will again be dedicated to voluntary contributions. Readers are reminded that Unasylva is available in electronic form on the Internet at: http://www.fao.org/waicent/faoinfo/forestry/unasylva/default.htm. Comments or articles may also be submitted via e-mail to Unasvlva@fao.org.