Editorial: 300 years of sustainable forestry
Celebrations are being held this year to mark 300 years since a German administrator became the first person to define the concept of sustainability. Hans von Carlowitz is being honoured for his seminal work, Sylvicultura oeconomica, which is generally accepted as the first publication to articulate the concept of forest sustainability and which later in the eighteenth century marked the conceptual starting point and framework for forest science.
Carlowitz, a senior government mining officer in the German state of Saxony, faced a pressing practical challenge: how to ensure the reliable supply of wood for the mines he was managing. Instead of expanding the supply areas of firewood, which would have involved devastating forest clearance, he instead proposed the sustainable management of forests without exhausting the resources. Although references to similar approaches in sustainability can be found in other countries and eras, Carlowitz was a pioneer in successfully conceptualizing the practice as a science – he laid the seed that was to grow into a global model of forest practices.
38th Session of the FAO Conference and 147th Session of the FAO Council
FAO’s two highest governing bodies met in June to discuss a wide range of issues, some of them important for forestry.
Conference recognizes important role of forests
International year and day of forests acknowledged
Recognition for excellence in forestry
Efforts to develop sustainable alternatives to destructive forest use in the Mau Forest complex earned the Kenya Forest Service the Edouard Saouma Award, also presented at the FAO Conference in June. The Service was commended for having implemented “with particular efficiency” a project funded by FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme. Read more
Conference adopts forest genetic resources global plan of action
The Conference also adopted the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation, Sustainable Use and Development of Forest Genetic Resources, the first of its kind for the forestry sector. The Global Plan was prepared based on needs and priorities for action identified in regional consultations and country reports for the State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources, which will be released by FAO in late 2013. Read more
A new tree in the woods – welcome to GlobAllomeTree!
FAO and partners have launched a web-based platform to help forest and climate change projects, researchers and managers calculate forest volume, biomass and forest carbon. GlobAllomeTree, the first international, peer-reviewed platform for tree allometric equations, currently has equations for 57 countries worldwide, from boreal forests to tropical rainforests. Read more. Access the GlobAllomeTree platform
3rd International Union of Forest Research Organizations Latin American Congress
12–15 June, San José, Costa Rica
Forestry profession needs to change, says IUFROLAT
Landscape approaches and forest restoration are keys to meeting global challenges
Collaborative Partnership on Forests retreatThe Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) held its biennial strategic retreat at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, in July, where members agreed on: actions on recommendations emerging from the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) 10; the approach for engaging in post-2015 development agenda discussions; and future CPF communications and joint initiatives. In the coming months the CPF will work closely with UN-DESA to identify the role of forests in possible future UN Sustainable Development Goals and with UNFF on the forthcoming review of the international arrangement on forests, which will be assessed at UNFF 11 in 2015. Read more
Sustainable forest-based industries committee invigorated
FAO’s Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries met in São Paolo, Brazil, in June, with renewed statutes and membership. The Committee discussed its inputs to FAO’s 2014–15 forestry programme and how this could better promote collaboration between FAO Forestry and the private sector. Read more
Indonesia’s recurring forest fires: need for land management solutions
This year’s forest fires in Indonesia were particularly intense, affecting neighbouring countries and leading to calls for greater forest protection to reduce environmental and health impacts. FAO’s Pieter van Lierop told Inter-Press it is important to recognize that fire is used as a land management tool and that the exchange of good practices has to be part of official solutions. Read more
Central American stakeholders review regional strategy for forest ecosystem management
A multisectoral, multistakeholder consultation supported by FAO, GIZ and IUCN was held in San José, Costa Rica, in April to review the draft Strategic Programme for Forest Ecosystem Management in Central America. This revised regional strategy, which was first approved in 2008, is expected to be released in November when feedback from the consultation has been incorporated. Read more
Tanzania facing forest “energy crunch”
The United Republic of Tanzania is facing an impending “energy crunch”, according to a recently completed forest inventory conducted as part of a Finland-funded FAO project. Population growth and a reliance on wood energy are causing the rapid degradation of the country’s forest resources, but disaster can be averted by an integrated response that goes beyond the forest sector. Read more
Highlighting the role of forest bioenergy for the future
More investment along the wood-energy value chain is needed to maximize the potential of the forest sector in responding to growing demand for bioenergy, according to 270 participants at a UNECE/FAO workshop in St Petersburg, Russian Federation, in May. The workshop was convened during the 3rd International Scientific Conference on Innovations and Technologies in Forestry. Read more
Innovation essential to realize the potential of wood
Process and product innovation is essential for the transition of the forest sector towards a green economy. This was the conclusion of a seminar organized in conjunction with InnovaWood in Geneva in April. Participants at the seminar considered that wood nanocellulose and polymer-based innovations in particular could be central to the wood sector’s role in a future green economy. Read more
African legislators pledge support for forests
East and southern African national legislators agreed at an inter-parliamentary hearing on “forests for people” in Tanzania in July to serve as goodwill ambassadors to raise awareness on forest conservation and promote best practices. In support of the initiative, FAO’s Foday Bojang presented the FAO guidelines on community-based forest management, a key tool for forestry practitioners in Africa. Read more and view the guidelines here.
Community involvement key to reversing desertification
Villagers and the local authority in Kouloumboutey, Niger, are striving to reverse decades of desertification that began with the drought-caused famine of 1984–85 and was exacerbated by overgrazing and excessive tree-felling. Close community involvement is a key driver of success of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative, of which Niger is a member. Read more
Upcoming meetings and events
Collaborative Partnership on Forests – events calendar, including:
New publications and videos
Unasylva: a stroll down memory lane
In this series, we feature extracts from early editions of Unasylva, FAO Forestry’s international journal of forestry and forest industries. The following text was provided by Christel Palmberg, Unasylva Editorial Advisory Board member
FAO's programme for forestry and forest products
“At the Fifth Session of the FAO Conference held in Washington in November 1949, the Director-General of FAO and the Director of the Division of Forestry and Forest Products submitted to the delegates a number of documents outlining the work – past, present and future – of the Organization in regard to forestry and forest products. A condensation of these documents is presented for the information of the readers of Unasyvla.
"... The field of forestry is very wide compared with the resources of FAO and so many projects have been recommended by successive sessions of the FAO Conference, by regional conferences, and by meetings of specialists that the most rigorous selection of items for the future work program was necessary. The Director-General had to select a relatively few key projects, placing the emphasis on those which were likely to have early and practical results and in which FAO could take some effective action. ...”
Unasylva 240: 300 years of sustainable forestry
Recent forestry papers
Kenya's award-winning project in the Mau forests
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