As reported by International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

The morning Plenary Session focused on developing capacities for education and research. Theme Sessions relating to ¿People and Forests in Harmony¿ met to address: devolution and decentralization; incentives and financing; science, technology and institutional development; enterprise partnerships; and outlook. Open fora on emerging issues discussed forest conservation and livelihoods, and who decides the future of the forests. An afternoon Plenary Session looked at challenges and perspectives.



Anatoly Petrov, Ministry of Natural Resources in the Russian Federation, explained that the harmonic relationship between humans and forests was disrupted when humans started exploiting forests for economic and social needs. Noting that, in the past, forest research was driven by private interests, whereas forestry education was public, he emphasized that establishing intergovernmental cooperation and taking an integrated approach is key to recreating the harmony between people and forests. Petrov stressed the link between education and SFM, contrasting successful educational and policy reform in Sweden and Estonia with lagging progress in the Russian Federation. He called for adopting new initiatives that are multidisciplinary and multifaceted, establishing SFM as research priority, creating international partnerships for training and evaluation, attracting youth, and using locally-adapted training modules.

Maud Dlomo, Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in South Africa, presented the South African effort to develop a progressive agenda on forest research and education, underlining that its economic, social and ecological components are not well understood. She called for ambitious thinking, suggesting forest research as a platform for sustainable development in forest-dependent communities and recommended broadening the forestry sector. Referring to forest privatization in South Africa, she stressed that community participation, empowerment and learning through international exchange have contributed substantially to the projects¿ successes. She recommended: enhancing the understanding of socioeconomic consequences of forest policies on systemic poverty; improving the understanding of land-tenure issues; acquiring adequate, long-term funding for research and capacity building; and setting sustainability as the ultimate goal.


Angela Cropper, Cropper Foundation, said equity is at the heart of forest-related discussions and concerns. She expressed hope that a better balance between the sharing of power and benefits can be achieved. She noted that continued financial assistance and capacity building in local communities is necessary to build up and support division of labor. Jeff Sayer, WWF International, indicated that forest destruction and degradation continue, but the increasing marginal cost of forest products results in an increased dependence on fossil fuels. He also noted that variance in forest-related definitions is a problem, and that integrated assessments, such as the Millennium Assessment, are of utmost importance. Sayer indicated that population growth, globalization, fire, armed conflict, and bad governance are threats to forests.Linda Mossop, Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in South Africa, indicated that creating harmony between forests and people is a key challenge to the forest community, without which, current and future generations may fail to benefit from forests, and the full value of forests may not be appreciated. Mossop noted that excluding some stakeholders from participating in forest decision-making processes can make them resent the benefits they see accruing to those that are involved in the process. She said a new generation of foresters, who take into account the requirements of all stakeholders, is needed. David Cassells, World Bank, expressed hope that people would not feel burdened by international processes, but instead feel that they can take action to benefit people and the planet.



DEVOLUTION AND DECENTRALIZATION: Abadacar Boye, Ministry of Environment in Senegal, presented two Senegalese case studies on improving forest management through: new practices of resource management by local indigenous peoples; the establishment of local woodcutter groups; and the use of a local behavior code. He noted that decentralization is an irreversible process in Senegal, where changes in the law have transferred authority to local communities. Sushil Kumar, University of Toronto, explained problems with devolution and decentralization, using community-based forest management in India as a case study. He suggested that, if decentralization policies are not accompanied by administrative reform, implementing agencies will be bound by conventional perspectives and decentralization will occur without local empowement. Bernard Cassagne, Forest Resources Management, discussed forest management in subtropical areas in Central Africa, using the Congo Basin and Gabon as examples. He recommended that technical management for major forest concessions be examined and adjusted for small woodlot owners, and stressed the need of finance for small and medium-sized enterprises in Central Africa. Elizabeth Grinspoon, US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, presented a decentralization framework for natural resources management based on comparative African case studies. She said key elements of the framework are accountability, discretionary power and security. She noted that not all decentralization benefits are equally effective, significant discretionary powers must be transferred to local populations, and institutions must be mutually accountable. Participants also discussed the diversification of people in forest departments, and the promotion of SFM in conjunction with sustainable employment.

INCENTIVES AND FINANCING: Jean-Pierre Dansereau, Quebec¿s Federation of Woodlot Owners, described several possible tools for attaining SFM, namely, the regulation of private activities, market tools and public subsidies. Noting that markets cannot reflect the complexity of public concerns, he advocated incentive measures. Dansereau discussed who should pay for forest preservation and the consequent loss of profits, and called for innovative approaches to achieve SFM.

Sándor Tóth, Pennsylvania State University, presented on monitoring and management of forest resources by private landowners in Japan. He explained that nearly half the forests in Japan are privately owned and that owners increasingly forego forest management because they are unable to cover their costs. He advocated the development of an informative and consistent monitoring management system, the construction of a forest cooperative, and the reform of subsidy policies.

Rogério Carneiro de Miranda, Proleña Trees, Water and People, described forest replacement associations in Brazil and Nicaragua, where private investment helps plantations meet the demand for fuel wood, diversify crops, create employment and future business opportunities.

David Lewis, HLB Decision Economics, described a computer model that assesses the risks and benefits of public-private partnerships in intensive forest management. He said these partnerships generate profits, and promote carbon sequestration, recreational values, biodiversity and non-use values. Peter Lowe, FAO, advocated the use of plantations in Africa and, to ensure their success, called for the creation of incentives, short-term financing, and opt-out options for investors, and for the development of plantation databases.

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Osvaldo Eucinas, University of the Andes, opened the session stating that forest science and related technologies have an important role to play in ensuring that forests remain a source of life. He also said institutional development is needed to increase the benefits that are derived from forest science and technology. Daniel Guimier, Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada, identified several priorities that guide forest engineering research, including the optimization of product value, environmental protection, communication and the development of human capital. He emphasized that energy efficiency in the forest sector can be both cost-efficient and environmentally sensible. Keith Jones, McGregor Model Forest Association, explained that the McGregor Model Forest (MMF) has made an important contribution to translating SFM into practice by adopting a planning approach that visualizes and assesses possible forest futures. He said the MMF and the Foothills Model Forest have integrated their planning strategies with a view to improving the application of SFM. Jacque Valeix, French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, explained that the multi-functionality of tropical forests must be maintained by taking into account biodiversity, social equity and economic viability. Jim Ball, independent forestry consultant, offered his personal views on the role of writing in forest science and forestry. Ball said that, while reviewing the voluntary paper submissions to the XII WFC, he observed that, overall, they lacked coherence, recycled existing information, and were often obscure. He then proposed that technical writing courses be incorporated into forestry education, and advocated continuing professional education and distance learning.

ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIPS: Solange Nadeau, Natural Resources Canada, discussed community paper plant ownership in Canada, noting they help to increase capabilities of communities and flexibility of policy-makers. James Mayers, International Institute for Environment and Development, and Christine Holding Anyonge, FAO, reviewed the impacts of corporate small holder forestry partnerships. They said the benefits for businesses include improved profitability, public image, management performance, and overall market position. They also said the benefits for communities include strengthened land-right security, improved infrastructure, and increased job opportunities, while farmers¿ bargaining power continues to be a major challenge. Anyonge also discussed the conditions for mutually beneficial partnerships, such as: enabling policy frameworks; the long-term viability of economic objectives; the recognition of partners¿ diverse and multiple objectives; and joint-action learning to facilitate small holder groups and the negotiation capacity of communities.

Citing the example of a relationship between the Atikamekw community and the Canadian forestry industry, Stephen Wyatt, Laval University, explained that cross-cultural partnerships need to account for the different value systems and goals of the partners. He recommended moving: from forest planning to integrated management; from a science-based approach to other management systems; from consultation to shared decision making; from forestry regulation to the recognition of land rights; and from financial valuation to green economics.

Geo Dutki, Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Conservation Trust, described market assessment and development activities to support small-scale enterprise development and build the interest of local communities in conservation. Jocelyn Lessard, Conference of Forestry Cooperatives in Quebec, discussed the potential of forest cooperatives to ensure the equitable distribution of forest benefits, combat poverty and respond to local communities¿ needs.

OUTLOOK: Jacek Siry, University of Georgia, defined SFM in terms of the Montreal Process criteria and indicators and noted challenges in achieving SFM as population increases and world forest acreage declines. He highlighted the role of certification and forest plantations in SFM.

C.T.S. Nair, FAO, said that understanding future changes within post-industrial, industrial, agrarian and traditional societies will enable a vision for the future of forests and forestry. He stated that changes in population, technology, and political and institutional frameworks will lead to societal change, and an understanding of human dynamics and foresight will facilitate decision making. He stressed that the largest societal changes will occur outside the forest sector. Sen Wang, Canadian Forest Service, examined the relationship between environmental quality and economic well-being. He said his findings included the following: higher forest cover is related to lower population density; the extent of urbanization does not effect forest cover significantly; and the relationship between forest cover and per capita gross domestic product is statistically insignificant. He concluded that forests do not serve as a reliable index for environmental quality. Rodney Keenan, Australian National University, acknowledged the importance of forest plantations in Australia, and noted that to achieve increased hardwood demands and environmental protection, plantations should be developed on agricultural land. Gordon Hickey, University of British Columbia, noted that monitoring was a core necessity for SFM and said that hard laws are universally applicable for jurisdiction, whereas soft laws are more adaptive and can be used to guide progress in forest management.


FOREST CONSERVATION AND LIVELIHOOD: TWO CONTRADICTING ISSUES OR TWO SIDES OF THE SAME CHALLENGE?: Jose Carlos Carvalho, Secretary of State for Environment and Sustainable Development in Brazil, argued that poverty in developing countries is not solely due to a lack of forest resources. He said the inequitable distribution of resources can be attributed to globalization, which encourages, inter alia, the predatory use of forest resources, and the use of trade restrictions and subsidies that disproportionately favor developed countries. Several participants strongly endorsed Carvalho¿s presentation and asked that it be presented in Plenary and referenced in the conference proceedings. Emmanuel Ze Meka, International Tropical Timber Organization, said that forest resources are not enough to fully satisfy people¿s basic needs, arguing that financial resources are also needed to overcome poverty.He explained that poverty results in the exploitation of timber and the conversion of forests into agricultural lands, and advocated for agro-forestry, certification, the commercialization of non-wood forest products, community forestry, eco-tourism, and the prosecution of non-compliant forestry companies. In conclusion, he called for equitable distribution of property rights, full public participation in decision making, research on poverty reduction strategies, and conservation. Others emphasized, inter alia, the need for: partnerships between communities, responsible companies and investors; sensitive production systems; non-wood forest products; technology transfer; and value-added production.

WHO DECIDES THE FUTURE OF FORESTS?: Chair Manuel Hernández Paz, Canadian International Development Agency, provided perspectives on forest ownership, noting that state ownership is its most common form. He indicated that ownership could change in the future if states are unable to take adequate decisions for SFM. Roger Foteu, Conference of Dense and Humid Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa, differentiated between forest ownership and control, noting that uncontrolled ownership results in open access, and ownership rights must take into account competing land uses. He said new powerful groups such as moneylenders and conservation NGOs are able to gain control over forests, but concluded that state ownership will remain the cornerstone of forest control in the near future. Jill Bowling, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International, presented the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and WWF¿s vision of the future of forests, stressing that control over forests should be evaluated according to three criteria: decision-making processes; stakeholders involved; and suitability of the participation process. She differentiated three groups of stakeholders according to ownership, responsibility and interests, and emphasized the importance of proactive participation to prevent forest-related decisions from being made by those outside of the forest sector.

Participants stressed the need to strengthen women¿s decision making, noting that participation requires the transfer of management rights, and critiqued participation restrictions at the FAO Collaborative Partnership on Forests. One participant expressed concern that courts in Canada often refer to indigenous peoples¿ rights as specific activities, rather than territorial rights. In response, Jill Bowling pointed out that the legal entities deciding over property rights change and management rights devolution must be defined. Foteu noted that the issue of participation needs to be complemented by a discussion of responsibilities.

last updated:  Friday, November 28, 2003