THE FUTURE OF FORESTS IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC: OUTLOOK FOR 2020

16 - 18 October 2007
Chiang Mai, Thailand

MAIN DISCUSSION THEMES

The conference will focus on the following five areas:

Current situation in Asia-Pacific forests and forestry

This session will take stock of where the region now stands and review the successes and setbacks of the past with regard to implementation of sustainable forest management. The session will focus on:

  • the current state of forests – where are we gaining and where are we losing?
  • the current demands on forests and how forest managers are responding.

Societal transition in Asia and the Pacific and probable scenarios for forests and forestry

This session will help participants understand societal change in the region and direct and indirect impacts on forests and forestry. The session will address:

  • key drivers of change in the region, their collective impact on society, in particular, changes in different segments (pre-agrarian, agrarian, industrialised and post-industrialised segments) and changes in the values, needs and perceptions of people as regards forests;
  • rights and tenure issues for indigenous and local communities and the impacts of changes on forest management;
  • probable scenarios for forestry in the context of extra-sectoral social and economic change;
  • expectations for the state of forests and forestry to 2020.

Impact of globalisation on forests and forestry in Asia and the Pacific

Rapid economic growth in Asia and the Pacific is partly due to the region’s ability to take advantage of opportunities provided by globalisation, especially through access to technologies, investment and markets. Trade in forest products has increased significantly during the last two decades and there has been a substantial increase in foreign direct investment in forest plantations and industries, largely to take advantage of the low costs of production in some countries and favourable investment climates. Issues that will be discussed include:

  • globalisation and changing competitiveness of forests and forest industries in Asia and the Pacific;
  • intra- and inter-regional shifts in production and trade and their impacts on forest resource management;
  • winners and losers from globalisation in the forest sector;
  • small- and medium-scale forest enterprises in the era of globalisation;
  • problems associated with globalised illegal logging.

Challenges in balancing environmental, economic and social needs

As the Asia-Pacific region becomes wealthier, there will be increasing demand for wood and wood products, and for the environmental services provided by forests. Forests will also have to cater to social needs, especially in addressing persistent poverty in rural areas. Specific issues that will be addressed include:

  • changing demands and shifts in sources of wood supply (especially planted forests and farm wood production);
  • roles of forests in meeting energy needs under alternative scenarios;
  • the future roles of forests and forestry in the reducing poverty: rhetoric vs. reality;
  • forests and the provision of global public goods: who will pay the bill?

Policy, institutional and technological adaptation for the 21st century

The rapid pace of change will necessitate timely adaptation of policies and institutions, which must be forward looking. There will also be a need to adopt emerging technologies that are more environmentally friendly and socially relevant. Specific topics that will be addressed include:

  • adapting policies to changing societal needs;
  • reinventing forestry institutions;
  • science and technology for forestry in the twenty-first century.

STRUCTURE OF THE CONFERENCE

A keynote address at the start of the conference will provide the larger picture of forests and forestry in the changing socio-economic environment and set the stage for discussion during subsequent sessions. Each of the subsequent sessions will include:

  • presentation of a lead paper;
  • 3-4 short presentations based on selected voluntary papers;
  • panel discussions on key issues.

The conference will also provide opportunity for poster presentations, highlighting innovative and forward-thinking approaches to forest management in the region.

last updated:  Tuesday, June 5, 2007