Still no timber without trees
De a lista POLEX, que coordina David Kaimowitz:
Some time ago CIFOR surveyed POLEX recipients to find out which
publications they thought had influenced forest policies the most. Number two
in the list was Poore et al.'s 1988 report No Timber Without Trees,
commissioned by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).
That study had shown only a tiny share of tropical forests used for timber
was managed sustainably.
Now the ITTO has issued a new report called Status of International
Forest Management 2005, which looks at what has been achieved since the
Poore et al. report was published almost two decades ago. It found major
progress, but not as much as one might hope.
Back in 1988 Poore and his colleagues had trouble finding even one
million hectares of natural forests that were managed sustainably to
produce timber. In contrast, the new report identified at least 25 million
hectares that fit the bill.
India and Malaysia alone account for 40% of that. Most of the rest is
in Bolivia, Brazil, Congo, Gabon, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, which
each have between one and three of the 25 million hectares. Malaysia,
Bolivia, Gabon, Brazil, and Guatemala have about 10 million hectares
that have been independently certified.
Things have also advanced on other fronts. There is greater consensus
these days about which criteria and indicators should be used to assess
if a forest is managed sustainably and more information is available
about forests in general. Many more forests have management plans and
there are a lot more plantations and protected areas.
Still, only 7% of the 352 million hectares of the natural forests that
tropical countries have slated to produce timber sustainably are truly
being used that way. Many companies with management plans don't
actually follow them and much of the tropical timber on the market comes from
Most media coverage about the new report stressed the negative side and
it is not hard to see why. Six years into the new millennium we are
still nowhere near achieving the ITTO's 1990 target of having all tropical
timber exports coming from well managed forests by the year 2000. If we
want to keep getting timber from natural forests it is more urgent than
ever to take better care of the trees.
You can download a free electronic copy of the full report in English
or summaries of the report in English, Spanish or French.