Global sustainable development is daunting because the socio-economic and bio-physical factors are varied across the globe. Within that context, the root causes and/or drivers of deforestation and forest degradation are complex and intricate. Therefore, an agreeable balance between the need to reduce the reporting burden and applying a relevant set of SMART indicators can and must be achieved.
Please note the following about the current set of indicators:
- It is not based on any principles and criteria. As a result, it is arbitrary, subjective and technically unsound.
- Several of the indicators negate the need to lessen the reporting burden. They include indicators 5, 8, 12 and 15.
- Indicator 14 is a criterion.
- Indicator 17 is ambiguous and should be combined with 11.
The entire set of indicators is critically flawed and must be overhauled.
My suggestions are based on internationally agreed common thematic areas of sustainable forest management (SFM). The thematic areas are:
- extent of forest resources
- biological diversity
- forest health and vitality
- production functions of forest resources
- protective functions of forest resources
- socio-economic functions
- legal, policy and institutional framework
The respective criteria and indicators are shown in the table below:
Criterion 1: Enabling conditions for SFM (legal, policy and institutional framework)
Indicator 1.1: Existence and implementation of policies, laws and regulations to govern forest management.
Indicator 1.2: Amount of funding in forest management, administration, research and human resource development.
Indicator 1.3: Structure and staffing of institutions responsible for sustainable forest management.
Indicator 1.4: Forest area (ha.) under long-term forest management plans
Criterion 2: Extent and condition of forests (Extent of forest resources)
Indicator 2.1: Area (ha.) of forests committed to production and protection
Indicator 2.2: Area (ha.) and percentage of total land area under each forest type.
Criterion 3: Forest ecosystem health (forest health and vitality)
Indicator 3.1: Extent (ha.) and nature of forest encroachment, degradation and disturbance caused by humans, and the control measures applied.
Criterion 4: Forest production (production functions of forest resources)
Indicator 4.1: Extent (ha.) and percentage of forest for which inventory and survey procedures have been used.
Indicator 4.2: Total amount of carbon stored in forest stands.
Indicator 4.3: Existence of a log and/or forest product tracking system, or similar control mechanisms.
Criterion 5: Biological diversity (biological diversity)
Indicator 5.1: Forest area (ha.) within protected areas.
Indicator 5.2: Existence and implementation of procedures to identify and protect endangered, rare and threatened species of forest dependent flora and fauna
Indicator 5.3: Extent (ha.) and percentage of production forest that has been set aside for biodiversity conservation
Criterion 6: Soil and water conservation protection (protective functions)
Indicator 6.1: Extent (ha.) and percentage of total forest area managed exclusively for the protection of soil and water.
Criterion 7: Economic, social and cultural aspects
Indicator 7.1: Value and percentage contribution of the forestry sector to gross domestic product (GDP)
Indicator 7.2: Existence and implementation of mechanisms for the equitable sharing of the costs and benefits of forest management
Indicator 7.3: Extent to which tenure and user rights of communities and indigenous peoples over publicly owned forests are recognized and practiced
I hope my suggestions are useful.
Reference: International Tropical Timber Organization, 2005. Revised ITTO Criteria and Indicators for the sustainable management of tropical forest, including reporting format. ITTO Policy development series No. 15