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Historical Background and Conceptual Framework of the FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice


Dennis P. Dykstra

Natural Forest Ecology and Management

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Bogor, Indonesia


The FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice was published in early 1995 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as a model which can be used by FAO member countries contemplating the development of their own codes of forest practice. This paper outlines the purposes of the FAO Model Code, reviews the historical events leading to its preparation, and summarizes the philosophical foundation upon which it has been constructed.

KEYWORDS: Logging, forest operations, forestry labor, environmental impacts.


Although it is less than six months old, the FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Prac-tice (FAO 1995) is already having a major impact globally as a focal point for discussions on environmental impacts associated with the harvesting of commercial timber from tropi-cal forests. This satellite meeting of the IUFRO XX World Congress, with its research focus, is one example of such discussions; other meetings in recent months have addressed silvicultural, socioeconomic, and policy issues. The FAO Model Code was developed in response to needs expressed by representatives of tropical member countries of FAO who felt that a model forest-practice code was needed which would be specifically relevant to situations commonly encountered in tropical forests. Most existing codes of forest practice have been developed for temperate forests and social conditions relevant to industrialized countries.

The primary purpose of the FAO Model Code is to serve as a reference for FAO member countries in promoting forest harvesting practices which improve standards of utilization and reduce environmental impacts, thereby contributing to the conservation of forests through wise use. The information it provides has been compiled with the intent of high-lighting a range of environmentally sound harvesting practices that are available to forest managers, especially practices that require only a modest level of investment in training and technology. The philosophical principle is that knowledge of such practices should assist policy makers to develop national, regional, or local codes of practice which will best serve the particular needs of the public, government agencies, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and other constituents in a particular country, region or locali-ty.

The FAO Model Code is not intended to serve as a reference on logging techniques, or to provide details on how to make proper use of harvesting tools and equipment. Many books and other publications which serve this function quite well already exist. Neither does it provide a catalogue of criteria by which to measure the environmental acceptability of various forest harvesting practices. As important as such a catalogue would be, it is probably not possible at the current state of knowledge to develop comprehensive criteria which would be globally applicable and at the same time economically practical.

The principles outlined in the FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice should provide a useful starting point for the preparation of forest practice codes by countries at any stage of economic development and in any climatic region. However, no single code of forest harvesting practice can apply equally well to all forests and all nations. The FAO Model Code thus emphasizes practices which are thought to be most relevant to develop-ing countries in the tropics. Even so, many of the specific practices recommended in the Model Code will require modification to adapt them for use in a specific country or re-gion. The most useful function which a publication like this can serve is to outline the important general principles that govern environmentally sound forest harvesting and to promote harvesting practices that are in harmony with those principles.


FAO was established in 1945 (Table 1) as an independent agency of the United Nations. Its primary mandate was to promote what we now think of as equitable and sustainable economic development among the world's poorest nations, focusing specifically on the fields of agriculture, food and nutrition, fisheries, and forestry. An important role for FAO which emerged quickly with respect to this mandate was its suitability as an impar-tial forum for debate among its member countries. Recognition of this role led to the establishment of the Committee on Forestry (COFO), a permanent committee representing FAO member countries which meets biennially in Rome to review the FAO Forestry Department's programs and to suggest new activities for the future. In 1993, representatives of several tropical member countries attending that year's COFO meeting expressed interest in having the FAO Forestry Department prepare one or more "model codes of forest practice" which could serve as reference documents for developing countries con-sidering the adoption of their own codes of forest practice. These representatives suggest-ed that the model codes could also serve as a set of internationally acceptable guidelines to promote forest practices that improve standards of utilization, reduce environmental impacts, help ensure that forests are sustained for future generations, and improve the economic and social contributions of forests to sustainable development.

The FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice is the first model code published by FAO in response to the request from COFO. Fittingly, it was introduced at the 1995 meeting of COFO, two years after the initial suggestion was made. Although this model code deals only with activities related to the harvesting of industrial timber, it is likely that FAO will publish additional model codes of forest practice which focus on silviculture, pest management, harvesting and processing of fuelwood and non-timber forest products, and other areas of forest practice relevant to developing countries.

Table 1: Chronology of events leading to publication of the

FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice

1945 FAO created as an independent agency of the United Nations

1958 Dawkins' report The Management of Tropical High Forest, with Special Reference to Uganda identifies logging damage as a major impediment to tropical forest management

1960 One of the first logging-impact studies in tropical forest, An Analysis of Logging Damage in Lowland Rain Forest in Western Nigeria, published by Redhead

1962 A paper by Wyatt-Smith and Foenander in the Malayan Forester on damage to regeneration from logging argues that silvicultural treatments must be designed so that they reduce logging impacts

1965 Forest Logging and Transport Branch established as a unit of the FAO Forestry Department

1974 Logging and Log Transport in Tropical High Forest published by FAO

1977 Planning Forest Roads and Harvesting Systems published as FAO Forestry Paper 2

FAO Conservation Guide 1 published as Guidelines for Watershed Man-agement

1979 Nicholson's influential report, The Effects of Logging and Treatment on the Mixed Dipterocarp Forests of South-East Asia, produced for FAO

1980 Chainsaws in Tropical Forests published as a joint effort of FAO and the Interna-tional Labor Officer, Geneva

FMC Tracked Skidder Logging Study in Indonesia by Buenaflor and Heinrich published as an FAO project report

1981 Choice of Technology in Forestry: A Philippine Case Study by Laarman, Virtanen, and Jurvelius published by ILO

1982 Report by Marn and Jonkers based on studies in Malaysia published by FAO as Logging Damage in Tropical High Forest

Appropriate Technology in Forestry published by FAO in collaboration with SIDA, the Swedish International Development Authority

1985 Logging and Transport in Steep Terrain published by FAO

1988 FAO Forest Harvesting Case Studies initiated as a continuing series of publications by the Forest Harvesting and Transport Branch

1989 FAO's publication Raw Material Procurement for Forest Industries in Developing Countries identifies the need to reduce logging impacts through improved planning and control of operations

Duncan Poore's influential book, No Timber Without Trees, published for ITTO and followed in 1990 by the ITTO Guidelines for the Sustainable Management of Natural Forests

A doctoral thesis, Damage-Controlled Logging in Managed Tropical Rain Forests in Suriname completed by John Hendrison at Wageningen Agricultural University, Netherlands

1990 Second edition of The Management of Tropical Moist Forest Lands: Ecological Guidelines by Duncan Poore and Jeffrey Sayer published by IUCN

The Fiji National Code of Logging Practice published by the Fiji Ministry of Forests, with a separate booklet on chainsaw use and safety.

Bruijnzeel's state-of-knowledge review, Hydrology of Moist Tropical Forests and Effects of Conversion published by UNESCO

1991 The FAO Forest Harvesting Bulletin introduced as a regular publication of the Forest Harvesting and Transport Branch

1992 Dykstra and Heinrich's article, "Sustaining tropical forests through environmental-ly sound timber harvesting practices," published in Unasylva on the occasion of the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro

International symposium on "Harvesting and Silviculture for Sustainable Forestry in the Tropics" organized by IUFRO Subject Group S3.05 (Forest Operations in the Tropics) and convened in Kuala Lumpur by FRIM and the Forestry Depart-ment of Peninsular Malaysia

Reduced-impact logging as a means to increase carbon sequestration in tropical forests initiated in Sabah, Malaysia as a joint venture by Innoprise Corporation of Sabah and New England Electric System of Massachusetts, USA; CIFOR later joins the venture as a research partner

1993 Delegates to the FAO Committee on Forestry at its biennial meeting in Rome identify the need for model codes of forest practice focusing specifically on prob-lems relating to tropical forests

1993 The Challenge of Sustainable Forest Management published by the FAO Forestry Department as a general policy document which identifies the need for policies and legislation to improve harvesting practices in tropical forests

1994 Meeting convened in Indonesia by CIRAD-Forêt's "STREK" Project to discuss results from three years of research on low-impact logging systems in East Kalim-antan and potential consequences for harvest scheduling and silvicultural treatments

Review draft of the FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice published in English; workshops held to critique the draft in the Philippines and Germany; comments and suggestions received from reviewers representing many international organizations and FAO member countries

1995 English version of the revised FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice introduced at the biennial meeting of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO), two years after its preparation was suggested at the 1993 COFO meeting; versions in French and Spanish are scheduled for publication later in the year


"Codes of forest practice" are sets of regulations or guidelines which are designed to help foresters in government agencies and forest enterprises select practices to be followed in carrying out forest management and utilization operations. In theory, practices which conform to a code of forest practice should achieve a desired outcome such as the harvest of commercial timber from a specified area of forest in a way that meets standards for sustainable forest management. Whether the codes of practice are mandatory or voluntary depends upon the legislative framework within which the rules or guidelines are adopted, the cultural history of the country or region, and even the attitudes of operators toward the results that the rules or guidelines are intended to achieve.

On public lands, and even increasingly in the private sector in many countries, forestry no longer focuses exclusively or even primarily on the production of commercial timber. It is now recognized worldwide that forests are of major importance for biological diversity, non-timber products, cultural values, and environmental services such as carbon sequestra-tion, enrichment of soils, and provision of clean water. As a result forestry has become a more complex, more demanding discipline. One consequence of this is that it is now more difficult to plan and carry out forest harvesting operations because these operations must be designed and implemented in ways that accommodate, and if possible enhance, the multiresource character of the forest. To accomplish this foresters, planners, and logging operators require guidance on the practices that society is willing to accept and the outcomes that are required in connection with forest harvesting operations. This is an important motivation for the development of codes of forest harvesting practice, regardless of whether they are intended to be mandatory or voluntary.

The FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice is not itself a complete code of practice; this would be an unattainable goal, given the importance of local conditions in dictating economically feasible and environmentally sound forest harvesting practices. Rather, the Model Code is intended to be used as a reference by FAO member nations which are contemplating the preparation of their own codes of forest harvesting practice. It has therefore been prepared to provide information on a range of practices that are likely to be acceptable under various conditions, and also on practices which may damage timber or non-timber forest resources. In doing this, the Model Code assumes that it is first necessary to know what practices are technically and economically feasible; then, political institutions can be used to establish policies and legislation, in the context of the country's cultural and sociological framework, that will motivate or enforce the adoption of such practices.

A second basic assumption of the FAO Model Code is that it is possible to conduct forest harvesting operations in ways that are consistent with sustainable forest management. Doing so generally requires the following:

The FAO Model Code thus examines each of these with the intention of providing information on what is known about how to accomplish them in environmentally sound ways that do not require major investments in training and technology. This is done by considering specifically each of the following components of forest harvesting:


It is important to remember that it is not the forest harvesting practices themselves that are important but rather the results that are to be achieved as a consequence of implementing those practices. In most cases, however, the goal of sustainable forest management cannot be attained unless environmentally sound harvesting practices are widely adopted by log-ging operators. Thus the emphasis in the FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice is on the harvesting practices themselves, rather than on the results to be obtained. If improved practices are adopted, then it is more likely that the ecological, environmental, and cultural values of forests will be retained while simultaneously providing for the sustainable utilization of commercial timber from those forests.

A final caveat is that laws or policies which are overly prescriptive tend to stifle initiative and thus make it difficult for practitioners to react creatively to changing situations. The best codes of forest practice are those that provide a firm foundation for decision making and assessment but also permit sufficient flexibility so that guidelines can be amended as more is learned about ecosystem function and silvicultural requirements, or as the socio-economic situation in a country or region evolves. It is also true that effective codes of forest practice cannot be developed in isolation from potential users and other interested parties. Efforts to develop such codes should involve government forestry officials, repre-sentatives of the forest industry, loggers, leaders of local communities, representatives of non-governmental organizations, technical experts, and individuals whose livelihood or cultural well-being depends on the sustainability of forest resources.


Bruijnzeel, L. A. 1990. Hydrology of Moist Tropical Forests and Effects of Conver-sion: A State of Know-ledge Review. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Paris. 224 p.

Buenaflor, V., and R. Heinrich. 1980. FMC Tracked Skidder Logging Study in Indo-nesia. FAO, Rome. Project FO:INS/78/054, Working Paper No. 7. 103 p.

Dawkins, H. C. 1958. The Management of Tropical High Forest, with Special Refer-ence to Uganda. Imperial Forestry Institute, Oxford, U.K. IFI Paper 34.

Dykstra, Dennis P., and Rudolf Heinrich. 1992. Sustaining tropical forests through environ-mentally sound timber harvesting practices. Unasylva 169:9-15.

FAO. 1974. Logging and Log Transport in Tropical High Forest. FAO, Rome. Publica-tion P-37. 90 p.

FAO. 1977. Planning Forest Roads and Harvesting Systems. FAO, Rome. FAO Forestry Paper 2. 148 p.

FAO. 1977. Guidelines for Watershed Management. FAO, Rome. Conserva-tion Guide 1. 293 p.

FAO. 1982. Appropriate Technology in Forestry. FAO, Rome, in collabor-ation with the Swedish Interna-tional Development Authority, Stockholm. FAO Forestry Paper 31. 137 p.

FAO. 1985. Logging and Transport in Steep Terrain. FAO, Rome. FAO Forestry Paper 14, Revision 1. 333 p.

FAO. 1989. Raw Material Procurement for Forest Industries in Developing Coun-tries. Forest Harvesting and Transport Branch, FAO, Rome. FOPH Publication 1989/02. 12 p. + 53 slide transparencies.

FAO. 1993. The Challenge of Sustainable Forest Management. What Future for the World's Forests? FAO, Rome. ISBN 92-5-103370-6, 128 p.

FAO. 1996. FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice. FAO, Rome. ISBN 92-5-103690-X, 85 p.

FAO and ILO. 1980. Chainsaws in Tropical Forests. FAO Training Series, No. 2. Published jointly by FAO, Rome, and the International Labor Office, Geneva. 96 p.

Fiji Ministry of Forests. 1990. Fiji National Code of Logging Practice. Ministry of Forests, Suva, Fiji. 58 p. + 7-page booklet on chainsaw use and safety.

Hendrison, J. 1989. Damage-Controlled Logging in Managed Tropical Rain Forests in Suriname. Series on the Ecology and Management of Tropical Rain Forests in Suri-name, Wageningen Agricultur-al University, Netherlands. 204 p.

ITTO. 1990. ITTO Guidelines for the Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests. Inter-national Tropical Timber Organization, Yokohama, Japan. ITTO Techni-cal Series 5. 18 p.

Laarman, Jan, Klaus Virtanen, and Mike Jurvelius. 1981. Choice of Technology in Forestry: A Philip-pine Case Study. International Labor Office, Geneva.

Marn, Harald Mattsson, and Wybrand Jonkers. 1982. Logging damage in tropical high forest. In: Sri-vastava, P. B. L., et al., Editors, Tropical Forests_Source of Energy Through Optimisation and Diversifi-cation. Proceedings of an international conference held 11-15 November 1980 at Penerbit Universiti Pertan-ian, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia. p. 27-38.

Nicholson, D. I. 1979. The Effects of Logging and Treatment on the Mixed Diptero-carp Forests of South-East Asia. FAO, Rome. Report FO:MISC/79/8. 65 p.

Poore, Duncan. 1989. No Timber Without Trees. Earthscan, London. 252 p.

Poore, Duncan, and Jeffrey Sayer. 1990. The Management of Tropical Moist Forest Lands: Ecolog-ical Guidelines, Second Edition. IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland. 69 p.

Redhead, J. R. 1960. An Analysis of Logging Damage in Lowland Rain Forest in Western Nigeria. Nigerian Forestry Information Bulletin (New Series) No. 10. p. 5-16.

Wyatt-Smith, J., and E. C. Foenander. 1962. Damage to regeneration as a result of logging. Mal-ayan Forester 25(1):40-44.

Codes of Forest Practices in Indonesia: Efforts in Sustaining Tropical Forest


Nur Masripatin

School of Forestry, University of Canterbury

Christchurch, New Zealand


Sustainable tropical forest management has become an international issue since it was recognized that rapid developments in the global economy brought about the severe depletion of tropical forests. The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), in response to this issue, has published some guidelines for managing and conserving tropical forests: 1) ITTO Guidelines for The Establishment And Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forest (1990), 2) Criteria for The Measurement of Sustainable Tropical Forest Management (1992), 3) ITTO Guidelines for The Establishment And Sustainable Management of Planted Tropical Forests, and 4) ITTO Guidelines on The Conservation of Biological Diversity in Tropical Production Forests as a supplement to ITTO Guidelines for the Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests. Indonesia, as a member of this organization, and one which owns the world's third largest tropical forest resource, has adopted these guidelines in managing its forests.

The paper outlines silvicultural systems in Indonesia which form a sub-system that is central to sustainable forest management. The paper also evaluates their suitability to forest conditions and other influencing factors, problems in their implementation on the ground, and research to be done in order to help manage forest resources sustainably.


Indonesian forests cover about 70% of the country's total land area of 193 million ha. Under the 1945 Constitution (UUD 1945) and the Basic Forestry Act. No. 5, 1967, public forest lands and forest resources are controlled by the state (MOF, 1994). Based on forest land use planning, 64.3 million ha are allocated as production forests; soil and water conservation, as well as watershed protection are accommodated in protection forests of 33.8 million ha; while 18.8 million ha of forest area are set aside for nature reserves and national parks. For the purpose of agricultural expansion, transmigration, and other regional development, 26.6 million ha of forests can be converted for other uses. Production forest areas, from which production of timber and other forest products are secured, are managed by Forestry State Own Enterprises and also by the private sector through a concession holding system.

Sustainable forest management has long been introduced to Indonesian forestry, as stated in the Basic Forestry Act No. 5, 1967 (see Figure 1).

Silvicultural practices form a sub-system that deserve more attention than some other sub-systems of sustainable forest management as they affect forest conditions directly. There are several forest types in Indonesia, which certainly require different silvicultural systems. Sutter (1989) classified the Indonesian forest types as: rain forests, dryland forests, peat forests, and swamp forests, while Manan (1994) proposed two major forest types: tropical rain forest and monsoon forest. Tropical rain forest includes: mangroves, peat swamp, freshwater swamp, beach/coastal, heath, lowland tropical, mountain tropical and sub alpine forests. Whereas monsoon forest covers: drier and savanna forests, largely located in the southern part of Indonesia.

Note: THPA: Clear cutting with natural regeneration

THPB: Clear cutting and planting

TPTI: Selective cutting and planting

Figure 1. Hierarchy of sustainable forest management system


A silvicultural system can be defined as a plan of forest management activities which includes harvesting, regeneration and tending in order to sustain timber production and other forest products. Staaf and Wiksten (1984) noted that forest operations and forest industries constitute a major part of commercial forestry. Forest operations consist of primary production, that is establishment and treatment of stands, and tree harvesting the secondary production, whereas forest industries reflect tertiary production or conversion of timber.

The Government of Indonesia introduced the silvicultural systems of Selective Cutting (TPI), Clear Cutting and Planting (THPB), and Clear Cutting with natural regeneration (THPA) in 1972. Although these three systems were introduced, only the selective cutting system was accompanied with technical prescriptions, which were later revised and became Selective Cutting and Planting (TPTI), to emphasize the importance of planting/enrichment in logged-over areas. With increasing international concern for sustainability, there was a demand for adjusting and improving the TPTI system, which was imposed in 1993.

Sutisna (1993) stated that silvicultural systems for natural forest are determined by forest condition and management purposes. Basically, only one management purpose for natural forests is considered, that is timber production while, at the same time, conserving the natural condition of the forest to minimize negative impacts, particularly ecological risks, as a result of change of forest structure. He classified forests into two categories: forest with adequate scattered mature tree species and/or forest with less mature tree species and or regeneration. Based on this condition and other influencing factors, the most suitable silvicultural system can then be selected.

Clear Cutting and Planting (THPB)

Clear cutting and planting (THPB), involving local people through agri-silviculture has long been implemented in forest plantations in Java (Beekman in Manan, 1982). The dense population in Java, demanding more employment opportunities, and the condition of the largely lowland forests, are the contributing factors to the adoption of this silvicultural system. Its implementation in outer islands is limited to swamp forests in East Kalimantan for producing wood chips (Manan, 1982). This system is also implemented in convertible forests, if the forest areas are converted for other purposes.

In this paper, the example from Java is used to describe a silvicultural system of clear cutting and planting that presently exists in Indonesia. Forest areas in Java are managed by a State Own Enterprise PERUM PERHUTANI, which has the authority with regard to planning, management, exploitation, and forest protection. The forests are dominated by teak plantations, followed by pine, agathis and some other minor species which comprise the overall forest plantation area in Java (see Table 1). Harvesting is undertaken with an intensive labour system in order to provide employment opportunity for the local people.

Table 1: Forest Areas under control of Perum Perhutani


Forest allocation

Area (000 ha)


Protection forests



Production forests:

- Teak

- Pine

- Agathis

- Other species








Source: Perum Perhutani (1993)

Selective Cutting and Planting (TPTI)

Selective Cutting and Planting (TPTI) can be considered as a modification of natural forest dynamics: for example, replacing mature trees with younger regeneration in order to sustain forest productivity according to Sutisna, 1993, who further emphasised the following reasons why the TPTI system is applied:

Inventory (pre-logging and post-logging) is one of the three main elements in the TPTI system, in order to identify the structure and composition of mature tree species and natural regeneration. The second element is determining tree diameter cutting limits, species, and number of trees to be harvested, so that residual stand conditions can be retained or improved for harvest in the next cutting cycle. Silvicultural treatment of residual stands is another important component in the TPTI system, in order to improve stand condition, to protect forest areas from encroachment and to conserve biodiversity. The 1993 decree of the Director General of Forest Utilization described TPTI technical prescription as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Sequence of selective cutting and planting (TPTI) system





Establishment of working area



Pre-logging inventory



Establishment of infrastructure






Refining (underbrushing)



Residual stand inventory



First liberation



Nursery practice



Enrichment planting




ET+3, 4, 5


Second and third liberation

ET+4, 6


Thinning of residual stands

ET+10, 15, 20

ET: year of felling

Each step is prescribed in terms of detailed explanation of activities to be followed by concession holders. For example, only trees with DBH over 50 cm are to be cut, 25 nucleus trees per ha with diameter between 20 to 49 cm and with 10 m distance among them must be identified, and trees within 50 m of watercourse, wildlife, nature reserves, vegetation lines along provincial road must be retained. The 50 m distance limit also applies to areas along rivers over 10 m wide and areas with aesthetic or scientific values. There is also a 200 m distance for areas along coasts.

To improve performance of the TPTI system, the Government should apply strict control over implementation on the ground. More studies need to be done to promote improvement of residual stands so as to interest concession holders on account of a higher profit in the long run. Another factor that may encourage concession holders to apply TPTI technical prescriptions thoroughly is the assurance of their right towards harvesting the stands in the future. The duration of a concession holding may be changed to a longer period, but it does not guarantee that TPTI will be successfully undertaken on the ground, unless there is a strict control from the Government. A punishment and reward system should be applied. Training of personnel involved in harvesting activities should be regularly carried out, in order to increase timber production by minimizing logging waste, and minimizing ecological impacts on logged-over stands.

Strip Cutting and Planting (TJTI)

The idea of implementing the TJTI system was based on the following factors (MOF, 1993):

_ consequently, Indonesia has not been able to prove the success of TPTI practice, particularly on the issue of sustainability,

Although TJTI was introduced in 1993, it is still experimental. The Decree of Director General of Forest Utilization 1995, explained detailed activities to be carried out during TJTI experimental stages. The TJTI system is applied to logged-over areas with a high level of deterioration, high possibility of encroachment, not suitable for THPB and also for virgin forests which are determined by Directorate General of Forest Utilization, and located in production forests according to province spatial arrangement (RSTP). This system is implemented within strips, that is strips split between cut and uncut (conservation) strips. Allowable minimum diameter is 20 cm, felling to be followed by artificial regeneration with commercial tree species and/or improvement of natural regeneration of logged-over strips. Table 3 shows the sequence of TJTI, while a strip layout of cut and conservation areas is shown in Table 4. A forest area of 1800 ha is needed for each TJTI experiment, of which a block of 900 ha is for the experiment on TJTI with artificial regeneration and the other 900 ha is for the experiment on TJTI with natural regeneration. Each block is divided into nine plots of 100 ha (1000 m x 1000 m) and are arranged according to terrain conditions. Each plot is further divided into two sub-plots, to study the impact of timing of tending (see Figure 2 as an example and Table 5).

Table 3: Sequence of strip cutting and planting (TJTI) Experiment





Approval of application



Establishment of working area



Pre-logging inventory



Establishment of infrastructure



Decide time for operation






Refining (underbrushing)



Residual stand inventory



Nursery practice







ET+2 to 5

ET: Year of felling

Table 4: Possible combination of cut and conservation strips' width in TJTI experiment


Cut strip (width in m)

Conservation strip

(width in m)




























Figure 2. Layout of cut and conservation strips in each plot (cut strip: 50 m; conservation strip: 50 m)

Table 5: Treatments applied in each plot


Type of experiments

Time of tending


TJTI with artificial regeneration:

* Sub-plot A

* Sub-plot B

- 4 times in the first year, twice a year from year 2 to 5

- 4 times a year in the first and second year, twice a year from year 3 to 5


TJTI with natural regeneration:

* Sub-plot A

* Sub-plot B

- refining/debrushing (4 times in the first year), crown liberation (year 2, 3, 5, 8, 15)

- refining/debrushing (2 times in the first year), crown liberation (year 3, 5, 8, 15)



As a result of major logging practices in natural forests which have in most cases neglected so far to show concern for conservation activities, forest degradation has increased rapidly. The large increase in deforestation, the international issue of global warming and the boycott of imports of tropical timbers which followed, led to the practice of timber certification (ecolabelling). Since 1985, Indonesia has embarked on industrial plantation schemes, focusing on some of the degraded natural forest areas. Because plantation forest development has for many reasons not progressed as was targeted and because of the important role of the forestry sector in national development, dependency on harvest from natural forests is still very high. However, knowledge about the species dynamics and ecosystems of these tropical mixed forests is still limited.

The commercial purpose of forest management on the one hand, and the concept and demand of sustainability on the other, have convinced policy makers and planners of the need to know the status of forest resources in the future. Growth models have been recognized as the most reliable means of providing these production and stand dynamics forecasts, in order to, for example: 1) examine harvesting options, 2) determine sustainable yield capability, and 3) predict future stand structure. This is the area of research which the author is presently undertaking at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Modelling Tropical Forest Growth

Modelling growth and yield of tropical rain forests is known to be more difficult compared to that of plantation forests because many species contribute to forest stand structure and dynamics (Ishibashi 1985, Adlard et al. 1988; Mohd 1988; Vanclay 1994; Kobayashi et al. 1994). Other measures on which plantation forest modelling mostly depends but which create difficulties in natural forests include the following: age is indeterminate; species identification poses difficulties; measurement of height, especially in dense canopies, is error-prone, and simple site indicators are not readily available.

Studies of the growth and yield of mixed forests have been done mostly in temperate forests using methodology that is not readily adaptable to tropical conditions, moreover, they concentrate more on ecological aspects (Vanclay 1994) which is not always directly useful for the purpose of harvest and forest management planning. Despite the problems encountered in modelling complex tropical rain forests, the development of an appropriate methodology for predicting future forest stands, using whatever information is readily available, is crucial to their sound management. The pressure on tropical forests, both on timber production and biological sustainability, necessitates the incorporation of ecological aspects, i.e., "concepts of pattern and process in the structure and succession of plant communities" (Adlard et al. 1988), in modelling growth of tropical mixed forests in the future.

Scope and Objectives of the Study

This study deals with a selected tropical rain forest in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. It focuses on modelling growth and on developing a yield forecasting methodology for timber harvest and forest management planning using resources currently available. The methodology which is to be developed in this study will contribute particularly to further research while, at the same time, it can provide useful information for forest management in the interim.

The objectives of the study can be broken down into the following several steps:


Modelling approach

There are several possible techniques to be applied in modelling growth of tropical mixed forests depending upon the objective/s of the modelling and how the information is to be utilized.

Daniels and Burkhart (1988) divided forest stand modelling approaches into three broad categories: whole stand models, size class models, and individual tree models. Similar categorization proposed by Vanclay (1994): whole stand models, size class models, and single tree and tree list models.

Whole stand models. Growth and yield are predicted using crop population parameters such as stocking/ha, basal area/ha, stand height, without determining details of the individual trees in the stand. Adoption of whole stand models has already shown great potential as a simple technique to predict plantation yield, but the method is not flexible enough to provide useful estimates of growth and yield in tropical rain forests where there are many species and a wide range of stem size.

Size class models. Classes of trees within stands are identified and characterized as the basic unit of modelling. This approach is a compromise between whole stand and single tree or tree list models. It provides sufficient information for many forest management applications (Vanclay 1988, 1994). Hence, it has been widely used to model the growth of natural forests (e.g., Buongiorno and Michie 1980, Lynch and Moser 1986, Mendoza and Setyarso 1986). Some limitations may occur in using this approach to model tropical rain forest if there are many species and a wide range of stem classes.

Individual tree or single tree and tree list models. Individual trees are identified and individual tree characteristics are used as the basis for modelling. A list of attributes (species, dbh, stem defects, etc.) is recorded for each individual tree. Tree list models simulate the number of trees per ha in aggregate from individual tree records, and they have been widely used for uneven-aged mixed forests in temperate and tropical climate (e.g., Vanclay 1994, Wykoff 1986, Wykoff et al. 1982). They are likely to form the basis of many mixed-forest growth models in the future.

A size class modelling approach is the most appropriate technique to model the growth of the above mentioned forest, taking into consideration the constraints of limited data and the purpose of the modelling. Quite a number of stand models fall into this general category (e.g., stand table projections, matrix methods, and cohort models). While stand table projections and matrix methods encounter some limitation, cohort models offer more flexibility, they enable projections under a wide range of conditions and provide diverse information for reporting (see Vanclay 1994). Leary (1979) in Vanclay (1994) developed cohort models which allowed varying degrees of resolution, from the lowest degree of resolution using a single cohort for each species to the highest degree of resolution with each cohort representing an individual tree. Hence, it enables the users to select the degree of resolution most appropriate to their needs.

Species may be grouped based on growth and other general characteristics for example: species, size, site factors, etc. Natural vegetation in East Kalimantan is dominated by tropical lowland evergreen and semi-evergreen rain forests belonging notably to the family of Dipterocarpaceae, e.g., Shorea spp, Dipterocarpus spp, Dryobalanops spp, as predominant species (Whitmore, in Bremen et al. 1990). This information can be used as one basis for species grouping. However, it will need further investigation as "taxonomy does not offer a consistent grouping for modelling" (Vanclay 1994). He further emphasized that there is no way of grouping species that is satisfactory in every sense. And so, a subjective grouping must be employed, taking account of the need to minimize within group variability and to maximize the variation between groups.

Modelling forest dynamics must include both the processes of reproduction and mortality as well as the growth of stems through time (Adlard et al. 1988). In modelling natural forests particularly, regeneration or recruitment and mortality cannot be ignored as they form an important aspect of stand dynamics which may have considerable influence on the volume yield of the stand (Vanclay 1994). Three model components are identified in this study: diameter increment, recruitment and, mortality.

Both empirical and theoretical equations will be adopted in this study to develop the most suitable growth model of the above forest.

Model implementation

The growth model to be developed should represent what appears to be the most favourable option. Ideally, a forest growth model should be both statistically correct and biologically realistic. However, there are no definite criteria to judge whether one model is better than the others. Modellers simply argue on the basis of the objectives of their modelling and the resources available for development and application of the models. Hence, criteria for choosing a model may vary due to model purposes and resources available to use and improve the model over time.

The selected growth model needs to be linked to other resource data and implemented in a computer programme, in achieving the second step of the study, namely, "develop a suitable yield forecasting methodology for timber harvest and forest management planning". While carrying out the first and second steps of this study, the third and fourth steps will be observed, the specific analysis being to reflect the findings of the first and second steps of this study. Their nature should also support general theories on tropical natural forest dynamics and other information.


Different kinds of data are required for model development, evaluation and application. Vanclay (1994) stated that data for model development must span a sufficient time period to incorporate weather variation, and should sample the full range of site and stand conditions. Data from independent populations are needed for model evaluation. However, since the data available for model development are often very limited, detailed model evaluation may not be possible in this study.

Other resource data to be evaluated in this study include: harvesting history, harvesting guidelines, existing taper equations, management regime (e.g., liberation, enrichment planting, physical aspects), and inventory data, all of which are required for developing yield forecasting methodology which can be used to generate yield information over time, under different scenarios of timber harvest and management regime.

Data from 12 permanent plots of a PT ITCI concession, recorded by the Forestry Research Institute in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, are used in this study. A large number of permanent plots were established between 1970 and 1980 in this concession area (Bremen et al. 1990). Twelve plots were then selected on the basis of data availability for growth and yield studies, and were resurrected by TROPENBOS (Faber 1992) in conjunction with the Soil Classification and Site Components of TROPENBOS programme. The plot size ranges from 0.25 to 2 ha, and each plot was divided into sub-plots of 10 X 10 m, making a total of 1025 sub-plots.

The main data set contains the following records for the 12 plots: plot and sub-plot number, species, tree height (bole height), stem class, and crown position. Data sets for each plot cover remeasurement records between 1976 and 1982 and 1989 and 1990. Species were identified in every plot and sub-plot. Dipterocarps are the predominant species in these permanent plots; 6 plots were located in logged-over Dipterocarp, 4 in virgin-Dipterocarp and 2 plots in virgin-Dipterocarp-Agathis. Tree girth is the only measurement recorded from 1976 to 1982, whereas in 1989 and 1990 stem class, damage/decay, crown type and climbers were also recorded. Some support data from different sources with similar conditions will be used if the required data to carry out the second objective of this study are not available.



My deep appreciation to International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) for providing fellowship to attend this meeting. I am indebted to A.G.D. Whyte for his support in my application for funding, and for his guidance during the final preparation of this paper. Heru Sularso, David Losu, Hasan Basri, John Novarly, and my colleagues in the Ministry of Forestry, Jakarta, deserve special thanks for their great help in finding necessary information for my paper.


Adlard, P.G., Spilsbury, M.J. and Whitmore, T.C., 1988. Current thinking on modelling the tropical moist forest. In W.R.Mohd (eds). FRIM-IUFRO Conference on Growth and yield in tropical mixed/moist forests, Kuala Lumpur, 20-24 June 1988, 241pp.

Bremen, H.V., Iriansyah, M., Andriesse, W., 1990. Detailed soil survey and physical land evaluation in a tropical rain forest, Indonesia. Technical series, The TROPENBOS Foundation, Netherlands, 184 pp.

Buongiorno, J., Michie, B.R., 1980. A matrix model of uneven-aged forest management. For. Sci. 26. 4: 609-625

Daniels, R.F., Burkhart, H.E., 1988. An Integrated System of Forest Stand Models. For. Ecol. Mgmt. 23:159-177.

Faber, P.J., 1992. Final consultancy report on Growth and yield research. Agency for Forestry Research and Development, Indonesia, pp 1 _ 20.

Ishibashi, S. 1989. The growth prediction of natural forest (I) the construction of a simulation model. J.J. For. Soc. 71: 309-316 (with English Summary).

ITTO, 1990. ITTO Guidelines For Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests. ITTO Technical Series 5.

ITTO, 1992. Criteria For The Measurement of Sustainable Tropical Forest Management. ITTO Policy Development Series 3.

ITTO, 1993. ITTO Guidelines For The Establishment And Sustainable Management of Planted Tropical Forests. ITTO Policy Development Series 4.

ITTO, 1993. ITTO Guidelines on The Conservation of Biological Diversity in Tropical Production Forests. PCF (XII) 17. Rev. 1.

Kobayashi, S., Wada, H., Ishibashi, S., Shibano, S., Okamura, K., Fukushi, K., 1994. Yield prediction table system utilizing 3-D graphical imagery for use in natural forests under selective cutting management system. Tokyo University, Japan (unpublished).

Leary, R.A., 1980. A design for survivor growth models. In K.M. Brown and F.R. Clarke (eds) Forecasting forest stand dynamics. Proc. Workshop, Thunder Bay, Ont, June 1980. pp 62-81.

Manan, S., 1982. Clear cutting and selective cutting, tools for forest management (Tebang habis dan tebang pilih, senjata kembar rimbawan Indonesia), Agro Ekonomika. XII: 17 (April, 1982).

Manan, S., 1994. Logging and ecolabelling: how to forecast the future. Paper presented on STREK Workshop, Jakarta, Indonesia.

Mendoza, G.A., Setyarso, A., 1986. A transition matrix forest growth model for evaluating alternative harvesting schemes in Indonesia. For.Ecol.Mgmt. 15:219-228.

Mohd, W.R., 1988. Modelling mortality in mixed tropical forests of Peninsular Malaysia. In W.R.Mohd (eds). FRIM-IUFRO Conference on Growth and yield in tropical mixed/moist forests, Kuala Lumpur, 20-24 June 1988, 241pp.

MOF and FAO 1990. Situation and outlook of the forestry sector in Indonesia. UTF/INS/065/INS: Forestry studies. Technical report No. 1 vol 2.

MOF, 1994. Progress towards sustainable management of tropical forests (objective year 2000). Country paper; the seventeenth session of ITTC, 8-16 November 1994, Yokohama, Japan, 14 pp.

Perum Perhutani, 1993. A Glance at Perum Perhutani (Forestry State Enterprise) Indonesia. Perum Perhutani, Jakarta.

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Vanclay, J.K., 1988. A stand growth model for yield prediction in rain forests: design, implementation and enhancements. In W.R.Mohd (eds). FRIM-IUFRO Conference on Growth and yield in tropical mixed/moist forests, Kuala Lumpur, 20-24 June 1988, 241pp.

Vanclay, J.K., 1991d. Compatible deterministic and stochastic predictions by probabilistic modelling of individual trees. For. Sci. 37: 1656-1663.

Vanclay, J.K., 1994. Growth models for complex tropical forests: design, construction and extrapolation. Paper presented to IUFRO conference on growth and yield of tropical forests in Japan, October, 1994.

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prognosis model. USDA Forest Service, General Technical Report, INT-133. 112P.

Code of Forestry Practice in India


Erode Sambastivam Thangam

Krishnamurthi International Agricultural Development Foundation

Madras, India


The National Forest Policy, 1988, of the Government of India, lays down the code of forestry practice in the country for management of forests on a sustained basis. In harvest planning, preparation of Management Plans for forest areas excluding catchment areas, etc., is a prerequisite. While clearfelling of natural forests and diversion of forest areas for non-forestry purposes are prohibited, the importance of giving employment to tribal people and the harvesting of non-wood products through tribal co-operatives have been stressed as control measures of harvesting operations. Since timber harvesting is closely linked with regeneration operations under the silvicultural system adopted, post-harvest assessment regulates the regeneration operations of planting, culturing and tending in the harvested area. The importance of development of competent and motivated staff has been emphasised.


India extends over 3,287,790 and has 19% of its land area under forests. The degradation of forest is mainly due to growing demand for timber, fuelwood and other non- wood forest products from the increasing population and from industries as raw material. In view of this, the primary concern of the country today is to protect and environmentally conserve the existing forest area.


In India, legislative enactments to work the forests could be made by the Central Government as well as the State Governments. The Central Government formulated the "National Forest Policy" in 1988 (1) which lays down the basic principles for code of forestry practices to be adopted by the states in the country. A summary of the important provisions made in this National Forest Policy regarding the four ingredients essential in forest harvesting operations in management of forests on a sustained basis is given below.

Comprehensive Harvest Planning

While harvesting of certain forest areas on steep slopes, catchments of rivers and other ecologically sensitive areas is severely restricted or totally prohibited, no forest area can be worked without a Management Plan prepared according to the guidelines of Central Government, which monitors its compliance by the States. In accordance with the State Governments' approved Management Plans, the Forest Departments/Forest Corporations draw up plans in advance for harvesting forest areas every year. No forestry programme should entail clear-felling of adequately stocked natural forests. (2)

Effective Implementation and Control of Harvesting Operations

Clear felling of forests and diversion of forest areas for non-forestry purposes is not allowed and needs special sanction of the Central Government under the provisions of Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. (3) This aspect has to be kept in mind during implementation and control of forest harvesting operations. (4)

The tribal and local people living in and around the forest areas have to be provided with gainful employment in forest operations. (5)

Non-wood forest products should be collected by tribal co-operatives and forest corporations, instead of contractors, and marketed. (5)

Since timber is in short supply, the export of logs is not allowed. Export of finished products like plywood, block boards, etc., is permitted. Special permits have to be obtained from the Forest Department for transport of timber and certain non-wood forest products along specific routes in the country. (2) (6)

Post-Harvest Assessment And Feedback To Planning Team And Harvesting Personnel

In the Management Plans, timber harvesting is one of the operations for obtaining regeneration in silvicultural systems adopted. In the post-harvest period, assessment of the regeneration status in the area is made and suitable planting, cultural and tending operations are carried out for three to five years and subsequently at intervals of ten or more years until the next felling cycle or rotation. The status of regeneration obtained on the forest floor indicates the success of harvest planning and execution and these data will be provided to the planning team and the harvesting personnel so that they can refine their techniques where necessary. (2)

Development of Competent and Motivated Staff

Agricultural universities and institutions dedicated to forestry would be supported to formulate courses for promoting professional excellence to meet the manpower needs of the country. Academic and professional qualifications in forestry would be kept in view during recruitment of staff. Specialised and orientation courses for the development of better management skills by in-service training would be encouraged considering the latest developments in forestry and allied disciplines. (7)

Government policies in personnel management of professional foresters and forest scientists should aim at enhancing professional competence and status to attract and retain qualified and motivated personnel in view particularly of the arduous nature of their duties often in remote and inhospitable places. (8)


In the economic liberalisation programme adopted by the country since 1991, multinationals from other countries have been invited to establish joint ventures in various sectors for the development of the country. The extent of good forest areas in the country is only about 10%, located mainly in catchment areas of rivers. Opportunities for identification of mega projects by multinational organisations in such areas is severely restricted. (2) Even in hydro-electric and irrigation projects taken up in Narmada River, Maharashtra State and the Tehri Dam, Uttar Pradesh State under World Bank and other aid programmes, the local environmental groups have protested strongly stating that the ecological balance in the area would be totally upset besides leading to the uprooting of thousands of families living now in the tract. Further, the Central Government will shortly enact the Forest Bill (9) viz. "The Conservation of Forests and Natural Ecosystems Act, 1994" in the Parliament incorporating the provisions of the National Forest Policy, 1988, and empowering the State Governments with punitive powers for violation of the provisions of the Act. In view of this, there appears to be little scope for mega projects of large scale timber harvesting operations by multinational organisations.


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