9.2.2 Forest management
Data on progress towards sustainable forest management were collected for the recent global forest resources assessment (FAO, 2006a). These data indicate globally there are many good signs and positive trends (intensive forest plantation and rising conservation efforts), but also negative trends continue (primary forests continue to become degraded or converted to agriculture in some regions). Several tools have been developed in the context of sustainable forest management, including criteria and indicators, national forest programmes, model forests and certification schemes. These tools can also support and provide sound grounds for mitigation of climate change and thus carbon sequestration.
Nearly 90% of forests in industrialized countries are managed “according to a formal or informal management plan” (FAO, 2001). National statistics on forest management plans are not available for many developing countries. However, preliminary estimates show that at least 123 million ha, or about 6% of the total forest area in these countries is covered by a “formal, nationally approved forest management plan covering a period of at least five years.” Proper management plans are seen as prerequisites for the development of management strategies that can also include carbon-related objectives.
Market-based development of environmental services from forests, such as biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration, watershed protection, and nature-based tourism, is receiving attention as a tool for promoting sustainable forest management. Expansion of these markets may remain slow and depends on government intervention (Katila and Puustjärvi, 2004). Nevertheless, development of these markets and behaviour of forest owners may influence roundwood markets and availability of wood for conventional uses, thus potentially limiting substitution possibilities.