Sustainable Forest
Management:
Is Everything in Order but the
Patient Still Dying?
Robert Nasi,
Center for International F...
Outline
Tropical forests
Some recent positive trends
Reality check
Lesson learned
Conclusions
Some implications for forest...
Tropical forests
Tropical forests
Are the most biodiversity rich terrestrial
ecosystem but are under unprecedented
pressure for agricultura...
Some recent positive trends
The area of tropical forests under protection has
increased dramatically
The area of tropical ...
Everything in
order?
Reality check
Tropical forests continue to be destroyed or
degraded at an alarming rate
A large part of tropical forests, ...
Reality check, managed timber
production forests
Basic tenets, from European models ‘exported’ to
the tropics in the 50s, ...
Reality check, success stories
There is however a growing portfolio of (partial)
successes in managing tropical forests fo...
What do failures and
success stories tell us?
Lessons learned
We must change the main conceptual model of
tropical forest management, look for new
paradigms and apply t...
Lessons learned: shifting
paradigms
The long-standing approach to management of
(marine) resources is based on a flawed
co...
Lessons learned: shifting
paradigms
Sustained production of a single commodity
(sustained yield forestry)
Sustained produc...
Lessons learned: sustainability
None of the actual forest management
approaches is really ‘sustainable’ in the tropical
fo...
Lessons learned: sustainability
The following points appear essential in building
resilient socio-ecological systems:
cons...
Lessons learned, in summary…
Do not try to achieve “Sustainability”
Avoid irreversibility
Allow change but manage for resi...
Is the patient dying?
Is the ‘managed’ patient dying?
My answer is ‘no’ but it is sure suffering and will
certainly change because of us
We must...
Some implications for forestry
research
The endless search of a globally accepted
definition of SFM is pointless
Research ...
Thank you
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Sustainable Forest Management: is everything in order but the patient still dying?

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Sustainable Forest Management: is everything in order but the patient still dying?

  1. 1. Sustainable Forest Management: Is Everything in Order but the Patient Still Dying? Robert Nasi, Center for International Forestry Research Session 147: Demonstrating Sustainable Forest Management XXII IUFRO WORLD CONGRESS 8-13 August 2005, Brisbane
  2. 2. Outline Tropical forests Some recent positive trends Reality check Lesson learned Conclusions Some implications for forestry research
  3. 3. Tropical forests
  4. 4. Tropical forests Are the most biodiversity rich terrestrial ecosystem but are under unprecedented pressure for agricultural land and forest goods and services Protected areas are essential to conserve tropical forests and their biodiversity but protected areas alone won’t work Most of the important biodiversity will be conserved or lost in managed forests used to produce timber and other goods.
  5. 5. Some recent positive trends The area of tropical forests under protection has increased dramatically The area of tropical forests under formal management is quickly increasing New, powerful management tools are available Markets value forests for what they are (certification, payment for environmental services) A growing proportion of forests is owned and/or managed by communities living in and by these forests We witness emerging new paradigms for natural resource management
  6. 6. Everything in order?
  7. 7. Reality check Tropical forests continue to be destroyed or degraded at an alarming rate A large part of tropical forests, either or not in protected areas, either owned or not by communities, is still in a situation of uncontrolled harvesting of forest resources (from logging to hunting or NTFP collection) under antiquated, inadequate and poorly enforced legal frameworks facing increasing land conversion for agriculture and spontaneous colonization with widespread corruption at all levels
  8. 8. Reality check, managed timber production forests Basic tenets, from European models ‘exported’ to the tropics in the 50s, have not really changed Existing plans are often based on unrealistic prescriptions hindering their adoption by a large part of the operators or pushing them into illegal activities Concern mainly large concessions in untouched forests whereas there is an increasing number of small to medium scale enterprises working in secondary or logged-over forests.
  9. 9. Reality check, success stories There is however a growing portfolio of (partial) successes in managing tropical forests for production: Managed timber concessions (Latin America, Africa, South-East Asia) Joint Forest Management (India) Community based forestry (Central America and Mexico, Nepal) Environmental NGOs - logging companies partnerships (Central Africa, Indonesia)
  10. 10. What do failures and success stories tell us?
  11. 11. Lessons learned We must change the main conceptual model of tropical forest management, look for new paradigms and apply them We need to rethink our concept of sustainability in the context of the management of production tropical forests
  12. 12. Lessons learned: shifting paradigms The long-standing approach to management of (marine) resources is based on a flawed conceptual model: the ‘optimal’ harvesting of targeted stocks in systems that are assumed to be reasonably stable An emerging approach rejects this paradigm in favor of management practices that recognize coupled socio-ecological systems that are characterized by complex dynamics and thresholds, with multiple possible outcomes and inherent uncertainties Hughes et al. (2005)
  13. 13. Lessons learned: shifting paradigms Sustained production of a single commodity (sustained yield forestry) Sustained production of multiple goods and services (multiple use forestry) Sustained production of multiple goods and services while maintaining future options and not damaging other ecosystems (sustainable forest management) Strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way (ecosystem approach, INRM)
  14. 14. Lessons learned: sustainability None of the actual forest management approaches is really ‘sustainable’ in the tropical forest context Forest composition inevitably change Some species are lost or become to rare for use New ecosystems emerge with new properties Altered ecosystems will not revert to their original wilderness condition by relieving stressors (e.g. logging) Success stories are more about building resilient adaptable socio-ecological systems than about achieving sustainability
  15. 15. Lessons learned: sustainability The following points appear essential in building resilient socio-ecological systems: consider both people’s interests and natural resources mix top-down and bottom-up approaches rely on partnerships and negotiated approaches recognize and use local knowledge avoid complex or unrealistic rules and regulations monitor carefully but allow for adaptation and learning foster and use technical progress taylor-made management solutions are always superior to generic ones
  16. 16. Lessons learned, in summary… Do not try to achieve “Sustainability” Avoid irreversibility Allow change but manage for resilience Recognize linkages between environment and people Recognize that uncertainty is inevitable and design flexible management regimes Do not wait, take decisions based upon a careful assessment of potential risks and costs Learn by doing and from others and use what you have learned
  17. 17. Is the patient dying?
  18. 18. Is the ‘managed’ patient dying? My answer is ‘no’ but it is sure suffering and will certainly change because of us We must learn to adapt our management to the emerging new modified ecosystems we created and not only focus on ‘primary-like’ ecosystems We should envision Sustainable Forest Management as a co-evolutionary process between the changing forest, the changing market and an industry moving toward higher efficiency standards over time The aim should be maintenance of functional forest ecosystems providing a continuous flow of goods and services
  19. 19. Some implications for forestry research The endless search of a globally accepted definition of SFM is pointless Research should consider various scales both spatial and temporal; results from short term, local experiments should be used with caution and always subject to revision Forestry researchers should open-up, learn from and team up with others (health, marine sector) Disciplinary approaches are doomed to fail and trans-disciplinary training should become part of forest research curriculums
  20. 20. Thank you

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