Codes of practice

Codes of forest practice are sets of regulations or guidelines developed by governments or other organizations to help foresters and forestry enterprises select practices to be followed when carrying out forest management and utilization operations. Practices that conform to the regulations or guidelines should, at least in theory, 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. In some cases, codes of practice are based on legislative mandates; in other cases, they may serve as voluntary guidelines.

FAO Model code

FAO. 1996. FAO model code of forest harvesting practice.
Considerable progress has been made in recent years in the introduction of environmentally sound forest harvesting practices in many parts of the world. Nonetheless, much remains to be done. There is a continuing need to refine harvesting systems and techniques so that they become fully compatible with the objectives of sustainable forest management, allowing them to contribute in an important way to the economic and social aims of sustainable development. This document is one response to this need. Its primary objective is to promote forest harvesting practices that improve standards of utilization and reduce environmental impacts, thereby contributing to the conservation of forests through their wise use.


Regional codes

Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission. 1999. Code of practice for forest harvesting in Asia-Pacific FAO, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok.
Defining and implementing sustainable forest management (SFM) is one of the most critical challenges facing countries of the Asia-Pacific region in the present era. Forest managers in the region are under increasing pressure to meet the growing demands for all types of forest products and services, while striving to maintain the ecological integrity of forests and enhance the livelihoods of people. As the region is a major producer of forest products and harbours a dazzling array of rich biological resources, forest harvesting practices and their related impacts are key concerns for forest managers, environmentalists and other stakeholders.

FAO. 2003. Regional Code of practice for reduced impact forest harvesting - in tropical moist forests of West and Central Africa FAO, Rome.
For many countries of tropical and equatorial Africa, the harvesting of forest products in their closed tropical moist forests, especially timber, is an activity that has ecological, sociological and economic significance: ecological because penetration of forest areas for harvesting purposes is generally the only or the main form of forest intervention, apart from disruption by natural events; sociological because forest enterprises are the main source of private sector employment in the interior of these countries and help retain local populations within the provinces, thus curbing rural outmigration; economic because timber often ranks second as contributor to the balance of trade and exports.

National codes

AUSTRALIA Crown (Government of Victoria). 2014. The code of practice for timber production. Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

BRITISH COLUMBIA (CAN) Osberg, M. & Murphy, B. 1994. Forest practices code guidebooks. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

FIJI Strehlke, B. 1990. Fiji national code of logging practice. ILO, Geneva, Switzerland.

GUYANA Guyana Forestry Commission 2002. Code of practice for timber harvesting - 2nd edition Guyana Forestry Commission, 1 Water Street, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana.

INDONESIA Sist, P., Dykstra, D. & Fimbel, R. 1998. Reduced impact logging guidelines for lowland and hill Dipterocarp forests in Indonesia. CIFOR Occasional Paper No. 15.

MALAYSIA Jusoff, B. K. & Nik Mustafa, N. M. S. B. 1996. Guidelines on logging practices for the hill forest of peninsular Malaysia. In: D. Dykstra & R. Heinrich (eds.) Forest codes of practice FAO Forestry Paper No. 133; FAO, Rome.

NEW ZEALAND Vaughan, L., Visser, R. & Smith, M. 1993. New Zealand forest code of practice Second Edition. Published by the Logging Industry Research Organisation, PO Box 147, Rotorua, New Zealand.

SOUTH AFRICA Warkotsch, P. W., Engelbrecht, G. v. R. & Hacker, F. 1997. The South African harvesting code of practice. Faculty of Forestry, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.
last updated:  Monday, May 28, 2018