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Dear Mr. Meza,
Thank you for your suggestions.
I agree that non-wood forest products are very important, for forest value and for livelihoods. The challenge is measuring such different products and assigning monetary values to them (the only solution for any aggregated outcome).
I recently had the privilege of visiting Chile’s untouched temperate rain forests, so fully agree on the importance of public recreation and tourism. There are challenges however, notably of multi-function forests which provide recreation and tourism alongside protection, biodiversity and even wood, as well as distinguishing “availability” for recreation from actual use for recreation, as measured for instance by visitor numbers (rarely available). In the European context we have been wrestling with this dilemma for some time, with limited success, it must be said.
Thank you again
Dear Guy and colleagues,
Thank you for the detailed and balanced comments.
I agree with you on the need to build in adaptation/improvement processes from the beginning, and to closely coordinate between GCS and FRA – while maintaining their quite separate missions.
On the specific indicators:
#4 It is quite true that measuring the contribution of multi-function forests (i.e. all of them) is difficult, but necessary. This indicator is the only one on the protection functions of forests, which usually are not remunerated, and often (but not always) occur as a consequence of the pure existence of the forest.
# 5 We do need a more accurate indicator of “employment associated with the forest secor”, including upstream (forest) and downstream (industry) as well as forest related jobs n conservation, education, research, ourism etc. Getting this out of noral employment statistics may need a creative approach!
#10 We are aware of the shortcomings of certification as an indicator of SFM, and the need to intepret the results carefully (that applies to all the indicators). It is however very impactful and easily understood, which is presumably why it is part of the SDG 15.2.1 indicator, which the GCS should shadow. I agree that this indicator should receive ongoing scrutiny, and care be taken to point out that many sustainably managed forests are not certified.
#14 Share of forest area disturbed is indeed vital, and needs a lot of work, because of the specific characteristics of the different types of disturbance. Breaking it up by type of disturbance is probably necessary for the construction of the data, but at the “macro” level of the Global Core Set, it will be necessary to aggregate them.
Thank you for your interesting contribution, which opens the discussion to some new aspects (Hollywood!).
I fully agree that social aspects are not covered well enough. One fundamental reason is that our forest community is better at measuring trees and ecosystems than societies and social processes. We have to learn, and your demonstration of the many people-centred ways in which forests contribute to new Zealanders’ welfare was very interesting. In other countries, the list would look quite different. However, unfortunately, I do not think we are ready yet to include an extra indicator to the Global Core Set, which is linked to the global commitments, measurable and universal. But we must work towards this correction as our present unbalanced indicator set (which reflects data measurement problems, but also in many cases, policy priorities) will influence the way we, and people outside the “forest sector”, think about our challenges and issues.
Dear Mr. Van Opzeeland and colleagues,
Thank you for your wide ranging, realistic and detailed comments. I will do my best to cover all the questions you raise, in a summarised way.
- It is indeed important to have indicators which are focused and clear as to their meaning (not too “diluted”). In practice this is quite difficult, and our present set could certainly be improved. I think the Global Core Set should be expressed in such a way that its meaning is evident, even to non-specialists (after all, policy makers are the primary audience!). It will need explanatory notes, for those who have to work closely with it, notably data providers, but the indicators should be able to stand alone. We have not yet started drafting a “narrative” (although it is implicit in many of the remarks in this online forum), but my personal view is that it should be simple and focused on why the indicators are needed, not on how they should be defined and collected. The latter questions are, of course, essential, but should not conceal the broad intentions of the set.
- I like your concept of setting in motion a process to bring up indicators which are not yet ready for the Global Core Set, so that they can “graduate” at some future time. The Global Core Set will certainly have weak points (you mention some of them), but we should not accept this situation for ever. Perhaps a short list of “candidate” indicators could be attached to the final set. However the existence of such a candidate list should not be an excuse for avoiding important topics which must be in the Global Core Set itself. Improving coverage of socio-economic indicators, biodiversity and payment for ecosystem services would figure prominently on that list. We would certainly use the experience of the Montréal Process, and of the other regional sets in this process.
Reactions to some of your detailed comments:
#4 Another contributor suggested “Forest area designated and/or managed for protection of soil and water”. I think that would address the issue you raise?
#6, 7 and 8 The notes should indeed make clear what types of policies and institutions are meant here, as well as the importance of “process”. In fact experience with FRA 2015 on these topics seems to be quite positive.
#13 and 10. I see traceability and certification as two sides of a coin, both the fight against illegal logging and increasing the share of products from sustainably managed forests – and being able to demonstrate that they do in fact come from sustainably managed forests.
#14 It is now clear that “health and vitality” should not be part of the indicator itself, and just confuses the topic. It is already difficult enough to define and measure “disturbance”!
#18 Opinions appear divided on whether or not wood energy is inside the scope of SFM. I am not sure myself which way to go.
#19 Agree that PES is not “ripe” yet. Perhaps to include it in the list of “candidates”?
#21 Clearly data on carbon/GHG stocks and flows should be collected through UNFCCC which has well tested guidelines. However is climate change mitigation through forests really outside the scope of a Global Core Set of forest related indicators?
Thank you for raising the question of finalising the Global Core Set. I am not a part of the decision making bodies but, as I understand it, the idea is to have an open and participatory process of drawing up the Global Core Set, including the OLI and the online consultation, which will finish at the Expert Consultation in Joensuu, but not to have a formal negotiating process. The final decision on the Global Core Set will be taken by the CPF, on the basis of the consultation process. I do not think any decision has been made inside the CPF on how this will be done. However, the CPF has been formally asked by UNFF12 to present the Global Core Set to UNFF13 next year, so countries will have a chance to comment then.
Thank you for your comments and above all for linking the Global Core Set to its stated objectives. In other work, I have prepared cross references between the draft Global Core Set and the forest relevant SDG indicators, the Global Forest Goals and Targets and the Aichi Targets relevant to forests: I can confirm that most of the targets are covered in some way by the Global Core Set, with the exception of food security and some of the institutional objectives in Global Forest Goals 4 and 6, which are not well adapted to an indicator approach. Coverage of the contribution of forests to “social, economic and environmental development” (GFGT 2.4) is weak, chiefly because of the vagueness of wording of the target.
I would be cautious about splitting the Global Core Set into sections according the goals, as the idea of the core set is to achieve efficiency by devising indicators which can be useful in several contexts, thus reducing the reporting burden.
As regards your detailed comments (apart from indicators where you agreed with the draft):
- #5 Several others also support including forest industries in the employment indicaor
- #10 “Available for wood supply” has proved difficult to measure in practice even in Europe, and is not in FRA 2015: so it might be difficult to include.
- #12 I would also like to have data on increment. Unfortunately, many countries, especially those with many natural forests, do not have this information, and it is not in FRA.
- #16 It is clear that getting data on livelihoods will be difficult. But can we ignore this issue, when there is a clear commitment to eradicate extreme poverty of forest dependent people?
- #21 At this stage, the Global Core Set does not specify where the data would come from. Clearly on carbon/GHG stocks and flows UNFCCC would be a major source
On the additional indicators you propose:
- Naturalness data are available and provide important context. However, it is hard to see how management and policy can influence this in the short term.
- Data on genetic diversity are indeed important, and are slowly improving in Europe (hanks to effective cooperation with a specialised institution), although problems remain. Is it realsitic to expand this to the global level?
Thank you again
Dear Mr. Gritten
Thank you for the interesting comments and challenging questions. Any indicator set needs to be put in a context and address specific questions.
On your specific remarks
#2 I am not sure we will break down the totals, but at least use IUCN concepts of what consitutes “protection”. Many foresters would say that all forests are protected, simply by the existence of a forest law, but this is not what is meant here.
#5 Two points: “logging” is included because that is the title of the heading in ISIC. Others have suggested a wider scope for this indicator. You raise an important point about the meaning of the indicator. Frequently SFM is welcomed as a provider of jobs, but people tend to forget that labour, like all other factors of production should be used efficiently. We should not aim at SFM only to provide jobs. And in many advanced forest countries, employment in forestry is dropping steadily because of improved productivity (while forest related jobs may be expanding – but we don’t know for sure)
#11 ODA is included because there is a commitment to provide more ODA (or financial respources in general), and this should be monitored. But I share your concerns about the meaning of this, espcially as many countries in the world receive no ODA, for forests or anything else. Here, it is the donors, rather than the recipients who might be monjitoried.
#16 Likewise with forest dependent people. Here the main commitment is to eradicate extreme poverty for all forest dependent people. Perhaps we should focus on reducing the number of forest dependent people living in extreme poverty?
Community forestry is of course important in those countries where it is possible/apprpriate, which is by no means all countries in the world (remember this global core set applies to all countries, not just developing countries), so this might be difficult. Is there a clear and accepted defintion of “community forestry”?
Dear colleagues of SEMARNAT and CONAFOR
Thank you for detailed and constructive comments.
I agree that socio-economic and biodiversity indicators are not well covered, for the reasons you mention.
As regards your detailed comments (ignoring, for the sake of space, those occasions when you provide background or say that further definition of terms is needed):
- #4 Excellent idea to use “designated and/or managed”, as in many cases there is no formal/legal designation
- # 5 I agree with your proposal to include downstream (industry) and forest-related jobs, even though these will be difficult to measure in practice
- #6 Good idea to add legal frameworks. Possibly also institutions
- #10 Important to mention national but “independently verified” certification schemes
- #14 you propose to stay with the traditional breakdown of disturbances (fire, biotic, abiotic), as measured in previous FRAs. This is probably the most robust solution, although it does not address the question of how much disturbance is part of normal ecosystem processes and how much is “damage”. This will vary strongly by ecosystem and whether the forest in question is managed or not, and how.
- #15 you suggest dropping this because of the problems of definition. But is this politically possible given that global forest target 1.3 includes a commitment to “restore degraded forests”?
- #16 You suggest an alternative indicator Number of people in [extreme] poverty living in forest areas, which reflects global forest target 2.1 (Extreme poverty for all forest dependent people is eradicated). Extreme poverty is defined as living under $1.25/day. You rightly point out the difficulty of interpreting the numbers which will emerge when you point out that decreasing numbers might not be the result of successful policies but rather due to migration of people to areas outside forests. I have a lot of sympathy with this approach.
- #17 you suggest focusing only on public financing of SFM. However, global forest target 4.2 refers to “Forest-related financing from all sources at all levels, including public (national, bilateral, multilateral and triangular), private and philanthropic financing”, which sets an ambitious target. In fact, private financing, notably by forest owners themselves, is probably the major source of SFM financing, at least in those countries with significant private forest ownership.
- #18 The debate is open as to whether to include wood energy or not (see other posts)
Thank you for your comments, and in particular bringing the discussion back to the precise high level commitments we are meant to monitor, which I take as the Global Forest Goals and Targets, the SDG forest-related indicators, the Aichi targets, UNCCD and UNFCCC. I am working on a systematic cross reference between these goals and the Global Core Set, for the Expert Consultation which might help decisions. You also identify two of the most challenging topics livelihoods/extreme poverty and food security, both of which still pose major challenges. I hope the CPF will be able to address these challenges in the near future as an interagency approach is necessary for this type of issue. We (the forest “community”) will indeed not look good if we are unable to back up our claims that forests are important for food security and livelihoods with hard facts. This implies not only agreeing on concepts and methods, but carrying out surveys in a significant number of counties before, say, 2019.
Thank you for your comments, and especially for the news that FSC and PEFC are working together to fix an annoying statistical/analytical problem. The two organisations were the only people able to fix this, so we all thank you.
As regards whether or not to include certification as part of the Global Core Set, there have been quite intense discussions (centred on the issues you mention) not only in forest circles, but also at the Interagency and Expert Group (IAEG) responsible for the SDG indicators, in particular 15.2.1 Progress towards sustainable forest management. At present the share of certified forest is one of the subcomponents of this compound indicator. As long as that is the case, it would probably be unwise for the Global Core Set to diverge from the SDG indicator.
Thanks for the precise and constructive comments.
You make an important point about the general line, and the need for balance. And I agree that biodiversity and NWFP are not well covered – chiefly because we couldn’t find anything that worked. This has been picked up by quite a lot of contributors. However, the scope is not only the Global Forest Goals and Targets, but also forest-relevant parts of other instruments, notably Agenda 2030, the Aichi targets (biodiversity again!) and UNCCD as well as, to a certain extent UNFCCC. Given that we hope for a rather small core set, these big guns rather squeeze the list.
On your detailed comments:
- #5 “forestry and logging” is the (rather old-fashioned) term used in the international classifications. I agree industry should be included as well as other forest related jobs (conservation, education, research, tourism related to forests) and the informal/subsistence economy. All of these present quite big technical/statistical challenges!
- # 7 Agree we need to mention NFI in a note
- #10 The decision on whether or not to include certification will no doubt be taken at a higher level than me! It is worth pointing out however that one of the subcomponents of SDG indicators 15.2.1 “progress towards sustainable forest management” is “Proportion of certified forest area”, and the global core set should probably maintain consistency with the SDGs. While certification is clearly voluntary, and many sustainably managed forests are not certified, certification does have the advantage of identifying very clearly a specific forest area which is sustainably managed, and is able to demonstrate this.
- #13 traceability. Yes, I see traceability systems as being the type of system countries are putting in place in response to the EUTR. The main argument for me is that without traceability, we cannot say anything for certain about the share of products from sustainably managed forests (GFG 3.3)
- #14. Yes, putting “health and vitality” in the indicator title was a mistake. “% disturbed” is better, although there are still many problems
- #15 “Forest degradation” is perhaps the biggest challenge for the group, but, in my view we have a responsibility to try because of the clear commitment in GFG 1.3 and the link to UNCCD.
- #17. If not $/ha, what ratio should we use? Perhaps % change. Financial resources in dollars without any context do not have much meaning. Private resources are of course difficult to define and to measure, but again we must try!
- #18 I prefer supply, but the big question, given we are trying to streamline, is whether to look at wood energy at all. See my exchange with Ms. Ehlers and others.
- #20 OK. No-one has shown any interest in recovery rates