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Finding good news about Latin American and Caribbean forests
FAO meeting highlights examples of effective forest management
Santo Domingo/Rome, 26 June 2006 – Latin American and Caribbean countries gathered here for a high-level FAO meeting on forests today launched a new initiative to collect case studies of successful forest management from around the region so that they can be replicated elsewhere.

The initiative was announced during the 24th meeting of FAO's Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), which started today and runs through 30 June 2006.

"The idea is to use these examples of responsible forest management to help chart a course for improved management of forestry resources across the entire Latin American and Caribbean region," said Carlos Marx Carneiro, an FAO senior forestry officer.

On the surface, the task seems a daunting one: FAO statistics show that Latin America and the Caribbean had the world's highest rate of forest loss for the 1990-2005 period, with the region's forest area declining from 51 percent to 47 percent of the total land area, primarily due to the conversion of forest land to agriculture.

Yet despite the grim picture painted by such figures, both forestry authorities and FAO experts say there are numerous examples from around the region of sound forestry management programmes in which people are succeeding in effectively managing forests and the benefits of forestry are being shared among local communities.

“Looking at these examples of excellence in forest management gives us a much more accurate picture,” said Carneiro. “The destruction of tropical forests is not the whole story. We know from field experience and reports that in many places in Latin America and the Caribbean forests are being managed well -- yet these successes are often not acknowledged.”

Book will contain detailed case studies

Through the initiative, government institutions, private sector companies, local communities, and individuals are being invited to nominate examples of success forestry management programs.* These will then be carefully screened and analyzed by an inter-regional panel of experts, with some 25-30 programmes covering a wide range of forestry management topics ultimately being selected for in-depth study. These analytical and prescriptive case studies will be collected in a book slated for publication in 2009.

The initiative follows the publication in 2005 of a similar book on forestry in the Asia-Pacific region, which became the most popular forestry publication in the history of FAO's regional office there.

Multiplier effect

“The challenge is to accelerate the implementation of sustainable management in the region by sharing the case studies, which will help clarify the concept of sustainable forest management and provide proof of its applicability under different conditions,” according to Carneiro.

Founded in 1948, the Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission is one of six regional forestry commissions created by FAO to provide a policy and technical forum for countries to discuss and address forest issues on a regional basis. It meets every two years.

Other topics to be discussed at the meeting include planted forests, conservation of biological diversity, climate change and forest fires.


Contact:
George Kourous
Information Officer, FAO
george.kourous@fao.org
(+39) 06 570 53168
(+39) 348 141 6802

Contact:

George Kourous
Information Officer, FAO
george.kourous@fao.org
(+39) 06 570 53168
(+39) 348 141 6802

FAO/18884./G. Bizzarri

Responsible forestry in Honduras.

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Finding good news about Latin American and Caribbean forests
FAO meeting highlights examples of effective forest management
26 June 2006 – Latin American and Caribbean countries gathered here in the Dominican Republic for a high-level FAO meeting on forests have launched a new initiative to collect case studies of successful forest management from around the region so that they can be replicated elsewhere.
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