In addition to on-farm management through organic and habitat enhancement practices, the success of biodiversity conservation in protected areas will depend upon how well individual farms are integrated into the wider landscape. Through proper planning at a landscape level, natural and managed areas may be suitably integrated into the landscape in order to reconcile human activities with the goals of biodiversity conservation. In order to best integrate the multiplicity of objectives within protected areas, land managers need effective planning tools to properly manage multi-use areas for the benefit of all interests.
Landscape ecology is the study of environmental factors and interactions at a scale that encompasses more than one ecosystem at a time. Because landscape ecology helps to understand how different parts of the landscape mosaic are formed and how they interact, it may provide a basis for the effective management of agricultural landscapes within protected areas. Landscape planning provides a tool for the integration of agro-ecosystems with the broader landscape in a manner that minimizes habitat fragmentation and that confer the beneficial aspects of biodiversity to agro-ecosystems. (Gliessman, 1999).
The tools commonly used in landscape planning are mapping, and where available, aerial photography and geographical information system analysis. Such tools provide a means through which historical, current and proposed landscape features and land-use activities may be contrasted to specific conservation goals. With this information, recommendations for changes in land-use practices and agro-ecosystem design may be made that serve to best integrate agricultural ecosystems and other human land uses into the broader landscape. In doing so, impact to critical habitat and sensitive areas may be mitigating or minimized and greater coherence between on-farm habitat and the surrounding landscape may be made (Smeding, 2000). Such management tools may also serve in monitoring the effects of specific land-use practices in order to gauge the effectiveness of interventions (see Example 5 in Annex).
Landscape ecology and planning may be used at various scales. At a larger scale of analysis, landscape planning may be used to determine the most appropriated placement of agriculture and other land-use activities when attempting to reconcile human livelihoods and habitat needs for biodiversity conservation. By looking at the landscape of which individual agriculture ecosystems are a part, key ecological features (e.g. surrounding plant associations/vegetation patterns) may be identified for use to determining appropriate on-farm habitat restoration efforts that may best serve to re-establish continuity of habitat types and thereby reduce habitat fragmentation. If such ecological features are managed successfully between a number of contiguous farms and wild surroundings, a landscape that is more compatible with the needs of a more diverse number of plants and animals may result (Smeding, 2000).
Several CBD references mention the link between ecotourism and agriculture: "ecotourism provides for full and effective participation and viable income-generating opportunities for indigenous and local communities" (Decision V/25, 4a). "In order to contribute to the sustainable use of diversity through tourism, there is a need to implement flexible mix of instruments such as integrated planning ... ecolabelling ..." (Decision V/25, 4g). "In some areas, low-input and small-scale agricultural activities that result in both an attractive environment and the maintenance of high levels of biological diversity can offer an opportunity for tourism. Sale of products derived from sustainably harvested natural resources may also provide significant opportunities for income-generation and employment" (Decision V/25, 12 e).
Ecotourism. Under the right circumstances, ecotourism has proven to be one of the most effective means to finance biodiversity conservation. In most rich biodiversity areas, actual revenue flows for ecotourism are better than non-timber forest products and biopharmacy, and comparable only to agroforestry (European Preparatory Conference 2002). Because the dominating land use in protected areas and buffer zones is agriculture and forestry, ecotourism is an opportunity for the creation of additional income to farmers/foresters and to generate financial means for the management of protected areas, especially where governmental park management agencies have little resources.
Agrotourism. The symbiotic relationship between tourism and agriculture that can be found in agrotourism (i.e. holidays on farmland) is a key element of an environmentally and socially responsible tourism in rural areas. Rural hospitality offers new employment and income generating opportunities for rural populations, including agrotourism as expression and cultural exchange of agricultural practices, artistic heritage and craftsmanship and culinary traditions. Agrotourism may take several forms: holiday farms, farmhouse bed-and-breakfast, farm camping, mountain resorts, equestrian centres and other forms of rural accommodations. Such facilities are an innovative payment system for environmental services generated on and around agricultural lands.
Agro-ecotourism. While ecotourism is nature-based and agrotourism is farm-based, agro-ecotourism is a combination of both. The rural landscape, usually a combination of wild and agro-ecosystems, is the most important resource for tourism development. It is obvious that a diversified agricultural landscape, with semi-natural habitats, has a greater aesthetic and recreational potential over uniform, degraded and/or polluted agricultural areas. In Europe, agri-environmental policies often promoted organic agricultural activities as a most effective means for landscape conservation: for example, the European Union Life Environment project run by the French Federation of Parks and Reserves adopted extensive animal husbandry to prevent the negative impacts of unmanaged forests on some botanical meadow species and to promote a landscape quality attractive to tourists. Examples from the Alpine Region showed that agriculture (e.g. in Carinthia, Austria) maintained an ecological value much more attractive to tourists than areas where agriculture activities were extremely reduced. Tropical countries that harbour extraordinary biodiversity have an untapped potential for generating tourism business around biodiversity-rich farms. For example, shade cacao and coffee farms have a higher biodiversity than forest habitats: families could receive money for visitors access to their land for bird-watching or could be actively involved in the agro-ecotour (see Examples 3 and 4 in Annex). Agro-ecotourism in certain locations provides a strong economic incentive to small farmers to commit to biodiversity-friendly agriculture management.
Eco-organic tourism. When agro-ecotourism evolves around an organic farm, it is referred to as eco-organic tourism. The valorization of specific elements of the agro-ecosystem landscape offers an additional economic resource for environmental protection. Conversion to organic management in agricultural areas and the development of connected activities such as tourism are increasing. When farms are organically-managed, they increase the motivation for tourists' visits. New tourist expectations have enhanced the quality of the supply such as diversified farm landscape, environmentally-sound farm-house architecture and local/typical gastronomy.
In many industrial countries, protected area landscapes including farmland experience land abandonment. In this context, small-scale agriculture can become economically viable if quality products could be marketed and income is supplemented by tourism activities, especially in areas rich of biodiversity and history (see Example 7 in Annex). While the establishment, by local authorities, of land protection systems was historically opposed by farmers unions, there is a recent growing awareness that a reserve/park increases "green" tourism opportunities and that visitors are increasingly sensitive to quality, both in ecological and gastronomic terms. This trend favours organic farmers because they can easily meet these new tourists' demands.
Different studies in the European Union demonstrated the ability of organic agriculture to create attractive landscapes. Eco-organic farm practices and activities which benefit the environment while rewarding farmers include: accommodation in buildings renovated/built according to ecological architecture (natural materials, bioclimatic criteria, landscape planning); on-farm consumption or selling of organic foods and beverages; educational programmes and training (e.g. organic gardening, compost making, wild herbs collection and drying, traditional food and beverage processing), and sensitising guests on rational use of natural resources (e.g. in-house solar energy but also in greenhouses or for processing, wood for heating, water re-use and re-cycling). A 1999 survey in Italy reported that eco-organic holiday farms performed the following activities: 35 percent arrange visits to nearby protected areas; 30 percent plan naturalistic didactical activities; 24 percent set up didactical and demonstrative laboratories on organic agriculture and the environment; and 11 percent offer visitors instruments and equipment for the observation of fauna and flora (AIAB, 2001).
Ecolabels are important marketing instruments for agro-ecotourism in general, because price premiums encourage farmers' commitment to the conservation and maintenance of biodiversity. The most well-known forms of certification include organic farming operations, organic and specialty foods (i.e. geographical denomination of origin) and forest stewardship products. Organic certification of farmhouse structure and facilities is less known but where implemented (e.g. Austria, Italy), it attracts more environmentally-conscious tourists. Requirements for such farms include: organic agriculture production; naturalistic and didactic activities; natural resources tutorship (e.g. at least 5 percent of the farm must be devoted to ecological infrastructure and at least 40 botanical local species must be present in the infrastructure); recreational green areas; ecological buildings (with respect to construction materials and cleaning agents used, energy saving and waste management, and prevention of air pollution); tourist offers (both on-farm and in neighbouring natural reserves); gastronomic offers (organic, seasonal and local); and sustainable transportation facilities.
The dependence of organic farmers on neighbouring protected areas to attract tourists to their farming enterprise and rural hospitality qualify them as best allies for the sustainable management of protected areas and buffer zones. Furthermore, eco-organic tourism offers opportunities for rural economies and sustainable tourism.
Eco-organic holiday farms in Italy
In 1998, the Italian Association for Organic Agriculture (AIAB) developed a national programme on sustainable tourism, based on the concept of eco-organic holiday farms. The main objective is to convert rural tourism activities to environmentally-friendly tourism through the involvement of organic farmers. While organic farms that undertake agrotourism or restaurant/catering activities are the main targets for such conversion, particular attention is given to organic farms operating within or near protected areas. Adherence to eco-organic holiday farms includes basic compulsory requirements and optional requirements, including organic agriculture, landscape management and valorization of local culture and products. Farms are inspected and granted a number of daisies on the label, from 1 to 5. The number of optional requirements fulfilled determines the farm classification: five daisies indicate adherence to all requirements. This system of classification indicates to tourists the level of commitment to the quality of the environment and of agrotourism services. In 2003, the AIAB directory included 143 eco-organic holidays farms but many more are being assessed for inclusion.
Several Italian Regions (e.g. Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio) have adopted organic agriculture as a best agricultural practice in parks and protected areas in order to support tourism activities: financial support is granted to convert to organic management, information desks are established for farmers within parks and demonstration activities are undertaken. In order to monitor implementation (and assist conflict resolution between agriculturalists and environmentalists), the Italian Association for Organic Agriculture (AIAB), the Italian Federation of Protected Areas (Federparchi) and the Environment Protection Association (Legambiente) have established in 2003 a virtual "Parks Observatory" in order to collect experiences and answer questions on how organic agriculture is managed in protected areas.
Source: AIAB, 2003
The importance of ecoforestry and Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) to protected area management is that these approaches to forestry provide opportunities to generate financial and livelihood benefits to local communities which give them an incentive to support conservation initiatives such as protected areas. Ecoforestry has its roots in environmentalism, whereas SFM originates in production forestry.
According to the Ecoforestry Institute of British Columbia in Canada, ecoforestry is a long-term ecologically sustainable and economically sound alternative to current conventional forest management. It is predicated on maintaining the "natural capital" of the forest ecosystem, while allowing a wide range of values and benefits to be derived from the "interest" of the forest.
Nature knows best how to manage forests. By working within the limits of natural processes, we can be sustained in perpetuity. Ecoforestry strives to conserve the structure, function and composition of the forest.
Self-sufficient and stable human communities can grow strong from a sense of place, recognition of interdependence and respect for the forest. Some key values of ecoforestry are ecological integrity, community vitality and economic opportunity. Its methods are specific to bioregions and forest ecosystems and are evolving as we learn more. Ecoforestry favours value-added manufacturing and local jobs by providing a continuing, diverse and local supply of forest products.
Ecoforestry is a low-impact approach to forest management that maintains a fully functioning forest within the natural historic range of spatial and temporal variability. Its practices favour native tree and plant species which provide for the needs of wildlife and their habitats.
Examples of the basic ecoforestry principles and practices are:
Values and the benefits of ecoforestry
The archetypal ecoforester is Merve Wilkinson of Vancouver Island off the coast of British Columbia, who describes his practice in words which exemplify the values and the benefits of ecoforestry: "I'm just completing the 13th cut since 1945 on my 137-acre mixed-species forest. Years ago, before the computer age and complicated forest policy, I established my growth rate to be 1.9 per cent using longhand arithmetic. This has determined my annual cut ever since. Several years after I determined my growth rate researchers starting knocking on the door: a German forester came in at 2.0 per cent, an American at 2.1 and Forest Renewal BC at 2.1 with their computerized methods. So I was pretty close. In fact, I've been undercutting for all these years yet making a good living. In 53 years, I've taken out two-and-a-quarter times the original volume but still have 110 per cent of the original volume remaining. We carefully conserve the forest - our capital - and live off the interest. Now that's sustainable forestry. And it is a stark contrast to official forestry practice in BC which is specifically designed to liquidate the old-growth forest - our province's one-time only forest capital."
Certification is being used as a mechanism for promoting ecoforestry, with the Forest Stewardship Council being the preferred approach for the Ecoforestry Institute. During the last ten years, the Forest Stewardship Council has certified over 30 million hectares of forest and other 70 million hectares have been certified under other schemes. Although certification initially focused on large-scale industrial logging, community-owned forest enterprises and small holders, including indigenous people, are now being certified (CIFOR, 2003).
Ecosystem Based Management is another way in which ecoforestry is being characterized and this has been taken up on a large scale. The "Great Bear Rainforest" agreement announced by the provincial government of British Columbia in April 2001 between environmental organizations, First Nations communities, and forestry companies working on the north-central coast heralded an environmental coup, the reverberations of which will challenge the British Columbia forest industry. The agreement signalled the success of an international boycott campaign aimed at forestry companies singled out for environmentally degrading operations. As well, the agreement protects huge tracts of land from logging, including 96 458 hectares to preserve essential habitat of a rare white subspecies of black bear popularly known as the "Spirit Bear".
But the real environmental victory forged in the agreement lies in the announcement that all development activity in the plan area, which covers about 4.8 million hectares (equivalent to approximately 12 000 Stanley Parks) of marine, foreshore, and upland area on the north-central coast, will be based on the principles of Ecosystem Based Management.
In the northwestern United States, Ecosytem Based Management will be applied to 25 million ha in the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. Small-scale ecoforestry stories are also emerging (see Example 6 in Annex).
Sustainable Forest Management
The broad introduction of the concept of Sustainable Forest Management can be traced to the so-called Forest Principles and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21, which were prominent outputs from UNCED. The guiding objective of the Forest Principles is to contribute to the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to provide for their multiple and complementary functions and uses. Principle 2b specifically states that "Forest resources and forest lands should be sustainably managed to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of present and future generations." It goes on to specify that: "These needs are for forest products and services, such as wood and wood products, water, food, fodder, medicine, fuel, shelter, employment, recreation, habitats for wildlife, landscape diversity, carbon sinks and reservoirs, and for other forest products." And that: "Appropriate measures should be taken to protect forests against harmful effects of pollution, including air-borne pollution, fires, pests and diseases, in order to maintain their full multiple value".
Although the Forest Principles form a "non-legally binding statement of principles", they bear the marks of a negotiated text with some repetitions and passages with ambiguous or very general text and are, in places, focusing on guidance for the establishment of an enabling framework for SFM, rather than specific guidance for application at the field level.
The concept of SFM has continued to evolve since 1992 through the international forest policy dialogue (IPF/IFF/UNFF4) and a large number of country-led and ecoregional initiatives aimed at translating the concept into practice.
Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management
Nine ecoregional forestry initiatives or processes involving 149 countries, whose combined forest area equals 97.5 percent of the total forest area in the world, have been established since 1992 with the aim of translating the concept of sustainable forest management into practice. They continue to meet on a regular basis to further refine the concept through the development of criteria - or elements - defining SFM and sets of indicators for each of these aimed at facilitating monitoring of progress in the practical application of the concept.
Although evolving independently, these ecoregional processes are conceptually similar in objectives and overall approach and have shared information and experiences resulting in a convergence as regards the main elements constituting SFM.
The 2003 International Conference on the Contribution of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management (CICI) was held in Guatemala gathering representatives from all of the above processes, international organizations (including NGOs), government officials and experts in the field. Participants at this Conference agreed that SFM comprises the following seven common thematic areas:
Of these, four are related to the environmental aspects of SFM and the remaining three to the social and economic aspects - the two other "legs" of SFM.
As would be expected, the indicators vary widely among initiatives owing to differences in forest types and environmental, social, economic, political and cultural conditions. National-level criteria and indicators are being complemented by the development and implementation of criteria and indicators defined at the forest management unit level in a number of the processes as well as by other actors such as NGOs and the private sector.
The degree of implementation of criteria and indicators at the national level varies considerably. In many cases, action is limited by the lack of trained personnel or institutional capacity for collecting and analysing information and for following up the development and implementation of improved management prescriptions based on the information obtained.
The results of CICI 2003 and other technical meetings held since UNCED demonstrate a move from the focus on whether conservation and sustainable development of the world's forest resources is possible, to a focus on how to implement sustainable forest management practices.
Recently a discussion has emerged about the relationship between SFM and the Ecosystem Approach. During a CBD meeting in July 2003, a consensus was reached to the effect that SFM amounts to a practical application of the Ecosystem Approach. It is thus evident that there is a convergence between ecoforestry and SFM in the sense that both now explicitly involve ecosystem based management.
4 Inter-governmental Panel on Forests (IPF), Inter-governmental Forum on Forests (IFF), United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF).