by FAO STAFF
ONE of the early actions of the Fourth World Forestry Congress was to prepare for the Fifth Congress. This, in itself, is perhaps a measure of the value attached to this gathering, which may be regarded as providing the forum for an exchange of views between experienced technicians, administrators, men of science and others interested in forestry, and for discussions on all aspects of forestry, leading to the formulation of broad recommendations applicable on a regional or world-wide basis. The carrying out of these recommendations as they may consider best is a matter solely for those to whom they are addressed - governments, international organizations, scientific bodies, forest owners, and so on - because a World Forestry Congress is purely an advisory body without executive functions. It consists of enrolled members who are free to express their personal opinions and neither speeches nor written papers in any way engage the responsibility of the departments, agencies or other bodies to which the members may happen to belong.
To help make the next world congress a stronger link between policy and practices, the Debra Dun Congress decided that a Preparatory Committee should be formed comprising foresters drawn from India (the present host country) Argentina, Australia, China, France, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and FAO. This committee would be called to an early meeting at FAO Headquarters to select in clear outline the topics for consideration on the next occasion and to make all the necessary advance preparations. The next host country, when known, would also nominate a representative to the committee. Already at Debra Dun a formal offer was received for the Fifth World Forestry Congress to be held in France in 1960.
In his message appearing in the special number of Unasylva issued last September, the Director-General of FAO stated what he was expecting from the Fourth World Forestry Congress:
"Not directives which only governments can give, but instructive information and advice on which those directives can be based and, following which, I can see that our abilities for service can be made most effective."
Read in this light, the report of the Congress carries much which is of interest.
Progress in World Forestry
The first part of the program of the Congress entailed a review by Marcel Leloup, Director of the Forestry Division, FAO, of the progress made in world forestry over the past five years. Taking the recommendations of the Third Congress singly, he considered that there was not one on which progress had not been made. Sometimes this was evident on the world level and sometimes at a regional level, and perhaps in some cases in specific countries only. Nevertheless, all this progress seemed small indeed set against what remained to be done, as revealed by analysis of the figures obtained from the latest FAO inventory of the forest resources of the world. There were, therefore, no grounds for complacency. But probably no one would deny that "forestry" is now more widely known, understood, supported and practiced than in 1949, the year of the Helsinki Congress.
Arising from its review of the present status of forest management in the world, the Congress set up three committees to examine pertinent points that had been raised.
Classification of forest types
The difficulties of forest classification, the question before the first committee, are known to all foresters. A solution is necessary not only to satisfy the botanist and scientist but because, from the practical standpoint, the determination of both forest policy and silvicultural treatment, so that forests can best contribute to economic development, presupposes an ability correctly to determine forest types.
Many classification systems have been suggested. In a report that was given close attention, the U.S.S.R. delegation explained the method now successfully employed in Russia and, after discussion of that report, the Congress proposed that the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) should set up a study group of experts to examine the possibility of standardizing the various suggested systems.
Another point referred to a committee related to the professional training of foresters. Particularly it was felt that the need for men to have a comprehensive view of international forestry problems was not being adequately met. The Congress eventually proposed that FAO should establish a panel of education specialists who, through correspondence and meetings when suitable opportunities arose, could advise the Organization on problems relating to the whole field of forestry and specialized education.
The third committee spent its time reviewing the work of the joint FAO/IUFRO Committee on bibliography, the importance and utility of which was fully recognized. It was recalled that the Oxford System of Decimal Classification for Forestry was one outstanding achievement of the efforts of this body, working in close co-operation with the Commonwealth Forestry Bureau at Oxford, and that it was now embarked on the arduous task of compiling a multilingual forestry dictionary, an undertaking that had already been recommended by the Third World Forestry Congress.
The Congress commended the Oxford system for adoption in all countries, and hoped that national agencies would arrange for translations to be made. With regard to the multilingual forestry dictionary, the FAO/IUFRO Committee was following the procedure recommended by the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for scientific and technical multilingual dictionaries, and this was approved by the Congress. An initial step, already taken in some countries, is the setting up of National Terminology Committees. The Congress called on all countries, that had not yet done so, to create such bodies, if necessary in consultation with other countries of the same language group.
Protective Functions of the Forest
A definite question was placed before the Congress, namely, what criteria should be used in assessing the extent and distribution of the lands which must be reserved under forest or other types of natural vegetation, or be restored to such cover, for protective purposes.
In answer, the Congress stated that in some cases forests and the grasslands frequently associated with them in nature afford protection which they alone can provide, for example, protection against the desiccating effects and erosive action of winds; protection in mountain regions against avalanches and rock falls; protection of springs and the steep banks of water courses; the stabilization of moving sand; and perhaps even an improvement in the purity of air in the neighborhood of towns. Such areas must be retained under natural vegetative cover.
In all other cases, the protective function of the forest may probably be replaced by the application of certain techniques, such as the use of fertilizers, special soil treatments; the construction of benches, terraces, etc. It is to be noted that they involve heavy expenditure of money, equipment and labor and postulate the attainment of a certain level of economic and social advancement. Until the latter condition is fulfilled, clearance of natural cover must be absolutely forbidden. Also it should be clearly understood that, even where circumstances would appear to warrant extensive clearing, the effects on the climate and the biological equilibrium are incalculable with the present state of scientific knowledge. Those responsible for such clearances must therefore act with every caution.
Competition between the different forms of land use makes a thorough knowledge of the various influences of the forest and forest grazing lands on soil, water, climate, etc., increasingly necessary. The insufficiency of this knowledge is demonstrated today by the controversies attending certain afforestation operations which appear to have had unfavorable influences on water supply. Consequently, the Congress recommended that research on forest influences, particularly in water catchment areas, be pursued or initiated in all parts of the world.
FAO, in collaboration with IUFRO and, if necessary, with other scientific international organizations such as UNESCO, should undertake to collect and synthesize the results of experiments and observations already available from a number of countries, and should disseminate such information for the furtherance of research and for the guidance of countries in their land-use policies, and in how to manage catchment basins in river-valley development projects.
Aside from catchment areas, notably under certain tropical or arid conditions, the forest also plays an important and often essential role in the protection of the stability and fertility of the soil. Should it be destroyed, reforestation is frequently very difficult and may often involve great expense. While techniques have been worked out for podzols and marshy lands of the temperate or cold zones, the reforestation of denuded laterite soils of the tropics and the alkaline soil of arid zones still presents formidable problems. The precise role that forests can play in desert reclamation is still to be determined.
The Congress recommended that large-scale afforestation of degraded lands be undertaken only after research on the methods and species to be used, and on the prospective economic returns from the forests under creation both to the local population and to the nation as a whole. Such research should extend over a considerable period, since early success with planting does not guarantee the establishment of a valuable forest.
If the desired result of soil stabilization and correction of the water regime can be obtained at less expense and to the greater benefit of the local population by methods other than afforestation, such methods should be preferred. Attention was drawn, for instance, to the reclamation of grazing lands by control of stock and/or by range improvement, with the possible introduction of fodder trees, and to the use of fruit trees.
Shelterbelts are an instance where forests or even tree plantations play an essential role in protection against wind and its erosive and desiccating effects. However, not only is establishment costly but it frequently antagonizes the cultivator, who complains in particular of the reduction in the yield of his crops adjoining the shelterbelts and of the multiplication of pests, diseases and animal vermin in such belts.
Research on shelterbelts has been carried out chiefly in temperate zones, and needs to be extended to the tropics. For arid regions, such research should be considered an exceptionally important part of the work to be undertaken by any international forestry organization set up for studying arid zone problems.
In concluding the part of its work on the protective functions of the forest, the Congress recognized that education in the conservation of natural resources in general, and of the forest in particular, is essential at every stage of the education of young people and should also be extended to adults. The concept of conservation and its fundamental importance for human welfare must be firmly implanted in the minds and conscience of mankind.
Various approaches were reviewed, but it was agreed that, especially in the case of the young, it is essentially the business of those professionally concerned with education; the conservationist should not participate without prior consultation. Action is impossible without the whole-hearted support of governments, who are often too little apprised of the problems and importance of soil and water conservation or are hampered in doing anything constructive by other considerations. The acceptance by governments of certain policy principles of soil and water conservation to be formulated under international authority, would appear to afford the same advantages as the FAO Principles of Forest Policy that received general recognition in 1951.
For FAO this is a particularly important recommendation. If it receives firm support in government circles, then the Organization will proceed to incorporate these forestry principles into a larger frame.
Productive Functions of the Forest
Here again, the task before the Congress was to set out the criteria for determining what portion of the national area should be kept under productive forest.
Ideally, the area should be determined by the need for ensuring the welfare and stability of populations and the satisfaction of the timber needs of the country. Insofar as the latter is not completely possible, a parallel criterion applies as in the case of protection, namely, that lands whose best capability is permanent forestry should be dedicated to forest. Even if the financial returns from such lands are low, they are still higher than can be expected from conversion of the area to another use. But where lands are of marginal use value, depending on and varying with the social and economic structure of the human community to which they belong, an appraisal of these social or economic values must be the deciding factor for or against forestry. It is to be remembered that in appraising the financial returns from lands put to forest use, it is presupposed that the best management practices will be put into operation.
The extent of the productive forest required is therefore likely to vary. Changes in economic conditions should be met by the adaptation of the growing stock, and of new plantings, to the new needs of the market, without compromising the biological structure of the forests. Management methods should aim, in the first place, at sustained-yield of the greatest quantity and the best quality timber.
There are few countries in which production in the forest is limited to timber alone. It is in fact by no means certain that specialized single-purpose land use, particularly on a permanent basis, is ideal. In some social and economic environments, such specialization would certainly not help towards reaching the desired goal of deriving the maximum yield from the land for the benefit of the community as a whole. This the Congress implicitly recognized by accepting the principle of "multiple use" of the forest. For instance, one of the most ancient uses of the forest is for the raising of livestock, and the Congress also gave regard to managing the forest as a wildlife refuge and source of game, and to provide recreational facilities. Several useful recommendations were made in this connection: the development of true silvi-pastoral plans of management, where feasible; the employment of all possible methods of improving tile quantity and quality of fodder trees and grasses; wider recognition of the fact that "wildlife is an integral part of the forest complex and its proper treatment and maintenance are important to mankind;" and encouragement of the proper use of forests for recreation, by public education and the formulation of satisfactory policies and management methods.
Lastly, the Congress recognized that, even from the economic standpoint, the conjunction of forest use, or at least of tree plantations, with agriculture on the same land is often the best way to use the land most fully. It strongly recommended that tree plantations "outside the forest" should be encouraged, particularly where the existing forest is inadequate to meet agricultural or other domestic requirements. Due provision should be made, if necessary, for control by forest departments. Encouragement might take the form of education and propaganda, including organized tree festivals and the free issue of suitable planting stock.
Utilization of Forest Products
It has already been mentioned that any thinking on how much land should be dedicated to forest assumes that a proper standard of forest management will be maintained. This is patently interwoven with the assumption that there are outlets for the raw materials provided through forest management. Unless the produce of the forest can be put to economic use, there is no call for silviculture, and if then the forest does not serve a necessary protective function, even the occupation of the land by trees may be hard to justify.
The Congress gave attention to a number of problems bearing on a fuller and more rational use of raw materials obtainable from the forest, better marketing of forest products, and a lowering of prices to make it possible for wood to compete effectively with the growing and well-advertised array of alternative materials or substitutes.
Ways of keeping costs down included the proper training of forest workers, improving the efficiency of work techniques, introducing the right tools for the job, and, in many cases, a degree of mechanization of forest operations. Such measures would have an impact on wages and, in general, on the living standards of forest workers. Governments should see that research was conducted on these various problems, and FAO should continue with the various activities that it had launched in this field, such as the creation in Europe of a working party of experts on improving logging techniques; making widely known the latest developments in equipment used in forest enterprises; and the organization of training centers and study tours.
A factor inducing high costs of working tropical forests was that a large number of species were not at present marketable. Even in the temperate countries there is scope for increased utilization of hardwood species. Discussion revealed that by appropriate processing, such as seasoning and preservative treatment, a large number of hitherto unused species could be utilized for construction, ship-building and other special purposes. Some countries reported considerable progress in this direction, for example, the development of a special method of gluing in a fluid thermic medium with simultaneous impregnation to make large size wooden members out of small-dimensioned materials. There was a trend towards wider' markets for some secondary species, which, however, was hampered by want of technical information on their properties and susceptibilities to insect attack and decay. The need for better grading according to standard specifications was stressed. Though a great deal has been done recently to overcome these drawbacks, much ground remains to be covered.
The Inauguration of the Fourth World Forestry Congress in the Convocation Hall of the Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, 11 December 1954
The Governor of the State of Uttar Pradesh, as Chairman of the Reception Committee, welcomes the President of India, seated on his left. Next to the President is the Minister of Agriculture. On the right of the picture Marcel Leloup, Director, Forestry Division, FAO, and C. R. Ranganathan, Inspector-General of Forests, India, who was elected President of the Congress.
Co-Presidents elected were D. AA. Macdonald (Canada) and V. N. Sukachev (U.S.S.R.). E. Saari who had been President of the Third World Forestry Congress at Helsinki in 1949, was elected Co-President honoris causa.
Ministers and delegations from all the States of India participated in the Congress, together with representatives of professional and trade organizations. Foreign members totalling 150 were drawn from 45 countries and sine international organizations including FAO, the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Council of Women (ICW) and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).
Countries from which members came were:
Afghanistan, Australia, Austria. Belgian Congo, Bulgaria, Burma, Canada, Ceylon, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark. Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany (Western), Germany (Eastern), Hungary, Indonesia, Irak, Iran, Israel. Italy, Japan, Laos, Malaya and Singapore, Nepal, Netherlands, New Guinea, New Zealand. Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Tanganyika, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Viet-Nam.
The role of forests in the economic development of a country must be measured not only by the goods and services they furnish, but also by the manner they contribute to the establishment and maintenance of key forest industries. In recent years, design of housing has assumed increased importance. Solid wood is giving place to processed materials with improved properties. With recent technological advances, it is now possible to produce large panels of plywood, chipboards, fiberboards, etc., often derived from the utilization of "waste" products, resulting both in economy in construction costs and fuller utilization of the forest crop. Prefabricated construction usually lowers cost but standardization of designs and knowledge of the stress-grading of components are the necessary pre-requisites.
The Congress recommended education, demonstration and propaganda for the guidance of civil engineers and architects as well as administrators, industrialists and consumers. This should also be extended to engineering schools and colleges. Training of personnel in operating modern wood-working machinery needed also to be extended.
The consumption of paper in the world is on the increase. It was felt that high priority should be given to the search for new sources of raw materials, not only for pulp but also for the preparation of sugar and power alcohol. Most of the pulp and paper production in the world continue to be based on the traditional conifers such as spruce, fir, and pine, but other species such as eucalypts and poplars have fair possibilities. Some tropical countries are using bamboos and grasses. Recent activities of FAO have focussed attention on the potentialities of tropical hardwoods and agricultural residues.
Lastly, the Congress discussed the economic importance in many countries of forest produce other than wood. India exports, for example, about U.S.$ 100 million worth of minor forest products annually, and such products are also of great economic importance in the Mediterranean and Latin American regions. Dependable products in assured supply in respect of quality and quantity, and more efficient production at low costs will result in better markets. In the case of medicinal herbs, a better knowledge of the chemically active substances and their pharmaceutical properties, sanitary production in standard quality and assurance of sustained supply would contribute considerably to their extended use. Due to sparse distribution under natural conditions, collection of such forest produce becomes uneconomic, and adulteration is common.
This could be eliminated by cultivation under controlled conditions which would incidently also provide scope for improving the yield of the effective chemical constituents.
It may he recalled that, owing to the, difficulties experienced by FAO in organizing the special world conference on tropical forestry which had been requested by the Third World Forestry Congress, it had been agreed that the subject be given prominence at the India Congress. In the event, this proved a wise decision and the discussions at Debra Dun were generally animated, comprehensive and more detailed than was the case for the other topics on the program.
Tropical Rain Forest
Starting with methods for improving mixed tropical rain forests, the Congress agreed that foresters of all tropical countries have as their common objectives the enhancement of the economic value of their forests. Methods of improvement, both natural and artificial, aim at getting a greater proportion of valuable commercial timbers.
Under the varying conditions encountered it is impossible to select a single silvicultural system which can be safely recommended to ensure the desired development of the forest. Techniques currently used, whose details still vary with local conditions, fall into three main groups:
1. The old stand is removed in periods varying from one to five years and is replaced by a more or less even-aged crop recruited from advance growth or from induced natural regeneration. Variations of this method have been tried in Malaya, Nigeria, the Andaman Islands and Ceylon.
2. Regeneration is induced by selection fellings.
3. The stand is enriched by the artificial introduction of valuable species.
In spite of the different methods employed, certain problems of common interest remain and were frequently referred to in the course of the Congress discussions.
In general, the silviculture of the tropical rain forests is still of an experimental nature. It has benefited little from the traditional practices of the temperate regions, and operations which are being carried out extensively in important tropical areas are still of recent origin.
The Congress recommended that FAO should establish in consultation with IUFRO and in close collaboration with Research Centers and Forest Services, a procedure for the collation of information and for the studies and controls required for experiments in silvicultural methods aiming at the improvement of tropical forest stands.
It is often stated that the chances of satisfactory development of these forests are precarious and distant. Some experts have consequently come to the conclusion that it is best to clear the natural forest and to replace it by pure plantations of quick-growing trees capable of producing an abundant supply of raw material, particularly for pulpwood, better adapted to the economic necessities of today. Foresters therefore find themselves faced with a dilemma. Is tropical forester to continue to concentrate his silvicultural efforts on development of the mixed forest and then expect industry to adapt its techniques to the type of raw material this class of forest will provide? Or must he, on the contrary, seek to adapt forest production to specific industrial needs and to consumer requirements?
There was considerable debate on the policy to be adopted in tropical regions, with notable contributions from members from Australia, Belgian Congo, France, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanganyika and Uganda. The conclusions may be summarized as follows:
1. The need is for the maintenance of a stable biological forest environment. Natural methods of forest enrichment ensure this, but there are nevertheless grounds for the view that pure plantations of well-adapted species will in time progress towards a form of association sufficiently stable to avoid dangers of a biological nature, provided certain precautions are taken. These biological dangers may, however, be serious in the case of 'pure plantations of quick-growing species managed on short rotation, and this method should, in any case, only be considered when the quality of the soil permits.
2. The type of forest products needed must determine the methods to be employed. The problem set, therefore, varies according to whether the region is densely populated and local needs are high, or whether it is underpopulated and there are few local requirements. The permanent supply of local needs must have first priority. Since long-term requirements are difficult to foresee and are liable to vary, it is necessary to give a certain flexibility to production. The mixed forest is best suited for this. For the pure stand, if it has to, or can, be used, one must choose species which are both high yielding and multi-purpose.
3. Since the maintenance of the mixed type of forest on a long-term basis is advisable biologically and even economically, it is essential to institute intensive technical, technological and industrial research with a view to as full a utilization as possible of the products.
The Congress suggested that research should concentrate on the ecology of the economically important species and communities with a view to determining the most favorable environmental conditions; methods of treatment, e.g., thinning techniques, reservation of seed bearers, control of competing species, felling intensity and cutting cycles; effect of fire and grazing; protection against insect and fungi; and on the preparation of up-to-date volume and yield tables and collection of growth data.
Artificial Regeneration and Formation of Plantations
Discussion of silvicultural methods for the tropics cannot be dissociated from consideration of the techniques of artificial regeneration (although afforestation and the formation of plantations is a broader subject). The Congress emphasized two points to be kept in mind when contemplating any planting program: the necessity, first, of ensuring soil conservation and fertility, and secondly, of establishing stands that will give a regular, sustained and as high a yield as possible. In the third place, plantations must not encroach upon land needed for farming nor make undue inroads on irrigation water supplies. Lastly, the cheapest and most profitable methods of establishing plantations must be sought. The silvicultural techniques to be adopted must be largely guided by the economic factor.
Afforestation and reforestation with exotic species have come to be of considerable interest in many tropical countries. Eucalypts and poplar have often proved more rapid producers of timber than indigenous species; coniferous species are of great importance from the industrial and economic standpoint; teak from Asia and Indonesia has also become an important exotic species in Africa and elsewhere during the course of the last forty years. All these exotics present special problems to the silviculturists of the countries in which they have been, or may be, introduced.
The Congress proposed that interested Member Governments of FAO should consider creating an international commission on exotic species for planting in the tropics, on the same lines as the International Poplar Commission. The Commission would assume the responsibility for the collection and dissemination of information in its field. It would also ensure the facilities and guarantees necessary for the purchase, exchange and introduction of seed and seedlings of exotic species, whether for experimental work or for operations on a large scale.
Arid Zone Forestry
Afforestation techniques assume particular importance when the assistance of foresters is required in the fight against the spread of desert conditions and in the utilization of regions on the margin of deserts. Under absolute desert conditions, the forester cannot, of course, do anything and the Congress was concerned only with zones believed to be capable of supporting useful vegetation, although receiving a rainfall below 20 inches (500 mm.).
The Congress acknowledged the importance of the action of man, and specially of his cattle, on the spread of desert conditions. The application of simple administrative regulations will not stop this spread. Before embarking on any radical measures, it is necessary to try to improve conditions in the pre-desert zones so that the people and their cattle can live without causing any damage. This entails pasture improvement, recreation of forests and the revision of agricultural policies. No such program can be undertaken in any country unless it be based on the results of thorough research, for in this field even minor set-backs may have serious consequences.
Valuable studies have been carried out in many countries, and it is time for their results to be placed at the disposal of all concerned. Countries should exchange technical information facilitate the exchange of seeds and plants adapted to the special conditions obtaining in arid and semi-arid and sub-desert regions. The Congress accordingly proposed that an international commission be created Oil forestry in arid zones, to be made up of groups within each of the interested countries and with a secretariat supplied by FAO. Such a commission should work in close co-operation with the permanent committee on arid zones organized under the sponsorship of UNESCO, which is specially concerned with the basic knowledge necessary for carrying out technical and administrative measures.
The commission should be concerned particularly with the species adapted to the various sub-desert conditions and their ecology, techniques of afforestation, the legislation needed to implement policy and assist the application of techniques; the measures to be taken for protection, rehabilitation, or creation of forests either as blocks or shelterbelts, for range management, and the conservation of soil and water.
The foregoing are only the most prominent among the results of the Debra Dun Congress. Many other points were covered and useful advice given, which will influence FAO action in the years ahead. One
topic that this Congress did not consider but which may well form a valuable subject for discussion in 1960, is the possible implications for forestry of the peaceful uses of atomic energy, a matter to which attention is now being given by FAO. That, however, dies in the future, and for the present this summary may be appropriately concluded by quoting some of the words of the President of India, used when he formally inaugurated the Fourth World Forestry Congress.
"Forestry is not an end in itself. As an aspect of land utilization, its value and significance are exactly in proportion to the sustained contribution it makes to human welfare, tangibly and directly through the produce that comes out of the forest and the numberless products that these materials may be processed into: subtly and indirectly by protecting the soil and conditioning the climate, thereby sustaining the physical bases of life; by providing a refuge and home for wildlife which but for the forest would perish and disappear from the earth; and not the least through the recreational and aesthetic benefits of forests. In India, the forest in closely bound up with our religious and spiritual heritage. Whatever function the forest performs, the touchstone and measure of its value is human satisfaction."
Article translated from an original French text.
FAO FORESTRY MISSION IN CHILE
Conspicuous among the achievements of the forestry mission in Chile are the forest extraction and sawmilling demonstration center at Llancacura, and the forestry school at the University of Santiago. The mission, comprising six experts, will he continuing its work through 1955. Its activities over the past three years have been guided by E. I. Kotok, formerly Assistant Chief of the United States Forest Service. High government authorities have expressed their great appreciation of the services rendered by Mr. Kotok, who has now retired from his position its leader of the forestry mission and head of all FAO mission.) in Chile. I-he photograph shows Chilean araucarias in wintertime in the Parque Nacional, Los Paraguas, a scene familiar to the members of the FAO Forestry Mission.
By courtesy of the Departamento de Bosques, Chile.