Principles of forest policy
We reproduce below the full text of the Resolution dealing with the Principles of Forest Policy (Resolution No. 26), to which reference is made in our editorial. This Resolution was adopted unanimously by the Sixth Session of the FAO Conference held at Rome in December 1951.
Part I: Principles governing the formulation of a forest policy
Part II: Principles governing the implementation of a forest policy
Declares its conviction that the forest is a factor of prime importance in the economic, social and physical balance of the world. Subject to wise conservation and utilization, it constitutes an indefinitely renewable source of products which are indispensable to man. The development of standards of living and the growth of world population create ever greater needs for such products, and many countries insufficiently endowed With forest resources must therefore depend upon other countries for supplies. Also, because it provides or can provide employment for many workers, and is a source of raw material to a wide variety of industries, the forest constitutes an important element in the social stability and progress of the world. The forest also exercises vital protective functions in regard to soil, water and climate and, as a result, influences the agricultural economy, the development of hydro-electrical industries, and the general welfare of rural and urban peoples both in the country itself and in neighboring countries.
Both the protective and productive functions may well be vitiated by destructive and careless practices. In order to enjoy to the full all the benefits which forests can afford, both to the country itself and the world at large, it is essential that each country should formulate a sound forest policy.
RECOGNIZES that forest conditions vary widely from country to country. Great differences exist in the forms of forest ownership. Economic exploitation of the forest and efficient utilization of its products necessitate the application of differing techniques and administrative procedures suitable to varying conditions.
Bearing in mind, however, that there are certain basic principles which govern for any country both the formulation and the implementation of an adequate forest policy.
RECOMMENDS, therefore, to Governments the adoption of the principles outlined below.
1. Each country should determine and set aside areas to be dedicated to forests, whether at present forested or not. This should be done progressively, if necessary, but always in accord with the country's economic and social policy and taking into account the close interdependence of all forms of land use.
2. Each country should apply the best practicable techniques in seeking to derive in perpetuity, for the greatest number of its people, the maximum benefits available from the protective, productive and accessory values of its forests. This implies that:
(a) protection should be afforded against damage or destruction by man, or by such causes as fire, insects and tree diseases;
(b) production should be organized, in quantity and quality, with a view to obtaining at least a sustained yield as soon as practicable, giving consideration first, to any protective role assigned to the forest, and then, to any other interests, whether world-wide, regional, national or local, that the forest should serve. The country concerned must itself adjudge priorities, taking into account that a forest may be called upon to render multiple services, including offering recreational values, protection for wildlife, and a source of supply of many kinds of produce;
(c) economic and rational methods of forest exploitation and of conversion and utilization of forest products should be encouraged, so that the volume and variety of commodities obtained from the raw material furnished by the forest shall be increased to the maximum extent possible.
3. Adequate knowledge of all aspects of forest resources, forestry, and the consumption and utilization of forest products, is indispensable. This includes, in varying degrees at the different stages of development of forest policy, a knowledge of the resources available on forested lands or of those that should be made available on idle lands; of the national needs for forest products; of the natural laws that apply to forests; and of the techniques employed in the production of forest crops and the utilization of their products. To this end, research should be organized and expanded to keep pace with all developments in the fields concerned, and the application of the results obtained should be consistently encouraged.
4. Public consciousness of forest values should he developed by all means possible.
5. Forest law to give effect to the forest policy should be enacted in consonance with the juridical forms and customs of the country. Such legislation should be developed in keeping with the economic and social progress of the country, and should in fact anticipate such progress.
6. A Forest Service should be established and staffed by suitably qualified personnel in all its grades to develop and implement forest policy in collaboration with any suitable organizations which may exist, and to administer the forest law. Such a service should be formed on a permanent basis; it should be endowed with adequate authority and financial support, and should work in close association with other governmental agencies concerned.
There should be effective organization to deal with forest research, its co-ordination, and the dissemination of results.
7. Adequate training should he provided for all concerned with the management of forests or the utilization and processing of forest products. In particular, foresters and allied technicians should be trained in sufficient numbers to staff public services and other interests concerned with forestry and forest products.
For the higher grade personnel, such training should be provided at schools of university standard, established, to the extent that this is possible, in the country concerned. Subordinate personnel should receive suitable basic training to enable them effectively to fulfill their duties.