12.3.2 Emerging Pathways
In the face of limitations of existing institutions, new mechanisms are emerging.
Recent developments indicate an increased importance ascribed to environmental
functions of forests and their integral role in sustainable forest management.
These efforts include attempts to manage forests as ecological systems (taking
into consideration forests' protective functions and their role in the conservation
of biological diversity); adoption of reduced-impact logging systems and development
of codes of harvesting practice; and restrictions placed on timber harvesting
in forests in North America and some tropical Asian and Pacific countries. Environmental
concerns have also led to certification schemes and export controls for forest
products. The trend towards increased involvement of nearby communities in forest
management, particularly in developing countries, allows for greater consideration
to be given to local environmental concerns and to the social benefits derived
locally from forests (FAO, 1997). Many Governments have regulations to promote
adoption of sustainable forest management practices, and prevention of damage
to forests for short-term benefits to timber companies.
A majority of these efforts have emerged independently of the climate change-related
debates. Many efforts, governmental and non-governmental, national, regional
and international, have been made to promote sustainable forest management.
Major international initiatives include: the International Tropical Timber Organization's
Year 2000 Objective, in which producer member countries have committed themselves
to having all their internationally-traded tropical timber come from sustainably-managed
forests by the year 2000; and national and regional efforts to define criteria
and indicators for sustainable forest management, and to determine means of
assessing progress towards achieving it. The latter involves a number of regional
initiatives, most of which have been launched since 1995, focusing on: humid
tropical forests in ITTO producer countries; boreal, temperate and Mediterranean
forests in Europe (the Helsinki Process); temperate and boreal forests outside
Europe (Montreal Process); Amazon basin forests (the Tarapoto Proposal); and
forests in dry zone sub-Saharan Africa (the UNEP/FAO Dry-Zone Africa initiative);
in the Near East region (FAO/UNEP Expert Meeting for the Near East); and in
Central America (FAO/CCAD Expert Meeting on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable
Forest Management in Central America) and "towards a sustainable paper
cycle" (World Business Council for Sustainable Development).
Some of the non-climate-related trends and mechanisms, which have implications
for climate mitigation programmes, are:
- Timber Certification. This activity promotes the sustainable management
of forests by issuing "green certificates" according to a set of
standard social, economic and environmental criteria. There are several certification
schemes being developed at the regional and international levels. The most
important of them are FSC-certification and the ISO-certification. Currently
there are a little more than 10.3 x 106 ha in 1997 (which has increased to
16.2 x 106 ha) of forests certified, through entities accredited, by the Forest
Stewardship Council worldwide (FSC, 1997). The slow growth of markets for
certified timber is still one of the main barriers for a wider and faster
dissemination of this particular form of technology transfer.
- Increased forest product recycling.
- Adoption of reduced impact-logging practices.
- Substitution of fossil fuels by biofuels.