Policies, Initiatives and Regulations of Sustainable Forest Management
Table of Contents:
Over the years, international collaborations and agreements to tackle deforestation and forest degradation in order to let forests recover and regrow har e been made. Since the 1960s, the global forest development has attracted attention in its contribution to the well-being of humanity and the mitigation of climate change. In the 1970s to 1980s, the concerns over deforestation in the tropics triggered international action plans for the management and conservation of forests (FAO, 2018). Table 1 presents some of the key national and international policies, regulations and conventions for forest-related issues in chronological order.
International policies, regulations and conventions
As early as the 1970s, the importance of wildlife has been discussed at an international level. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) launched in 1975 recognized the conservation and protection of wild fauna and flora as of global importance and then survival would not be threatened in international trade. However, it was not particularly focused on forestry issues.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 marked the international discussion on addressing the problems of deforestation and forest degradation as an emissions reduction measure to mitigate climate change (Barbier et al., 2019). The Agenda 21 Chapter 11 initiated a global action to combat deforestation by strengthening international collaboration and recognising the roles and functioning of all types of forests, and effectively manage and conserve forests in both the developed and the developing countries (Bucknum, 1998; Stupak et ah. 2011). The UNFCCC has adopted the “Non-Legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of all Types of Forests” (also known as the Forest Principles or Rio Forest Principles). The Principles are not legally binding demonstrating the high divergence of views during the negotiation (Ruis, 2001; Sample et ah. 2015).
Following the UNFCCC, several panels were formed to focus on the discussion of forestry issues. The Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) (1995-1997) was established to elaborate the Forest Principles further. The Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) (1997-2000) was formed as a successor to the IPF to develop a framework for the implementation of the IPF proposals for action. The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) (2000 until present) was established in order to develop international legally binding agreements for the long-term commitments in sustainable forest management (Humphrey, 1998, 2001; Ruis, 2001; Tegegne et ah, 2018). The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) was established in 2001 among 14 international organisations to support the work of the UNFF.
Following the UNFCCC and the development of the CBD, there is a series of annual Conference of Parties (COPs) and other meetings organised worldwide to discuss and develop action plans for forest carbon management and the estimation and verification of carbon gains of forests (Knauf et ah, 2015; Sample et ah, 2015). International collaboration on forest-related matters was the REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) and the REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries). As early as at the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the vital role that forests play in reducing carbon emissions was fust recognised and the idea of REDD was first discussed (Pistorius, 2012). The REDD was formally established in 2007 at the COP13 in Bah. The REDD is a UN programme in collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) to support developing countries in establishing the teclmical capacities needed to implement the goals (Pistorius, 2012; UNREDD, 2015).
The REDD was further discussed and expanded into REDD+ at the COP 14 in Poznan to include the importance of conseivation and improvement of forest and forest carbon stocks in developing countries (Pistorius, 2012; Kionenberg et ah. 2015; Tegegne et ah, 2018). REDD+ is a voluntary approach that
Table 1 contd. ...
Sources: Bucknum, 1998; Humphrey, 1998, 2001; Ruis, 2001; Curran et al., 2005; Flejzor, 2005; Levashova, 2011; Stupak et al., 2011; Pistorius, 2012; Knauf et al., 2015; Kronenberg et al., 2015;Prestemon, 2015; Sample et al., 2015; Gratzer and Keeton, 2017; Holl, 2017; UNSPF, 2017; Guan et al., 2018; Mitehard, 2018; PEFC, 2018; Tegegne etal., 2018; Barbier et al., 2019; FSC, 2019
provides results-based payments for verified emission reductions from participating countries. It aims at reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conserving forest carbon stocks and managing the forest sustainably (Newton et al., 2015; REDD+, 2016).
A more recent international agreement was the New York Declaration on Forest (NYDF) in 2014, which aims to restore 150 million hectares of forest by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030 (Holl, 2017; NYDF, 2017). The NYDF advocates incentive schemes of forestry restoration and protection to participating countries. The Paris Agreement in 2015 was established for the final adoption of the REDD+ and aims to conserve half of the terrestrial space for biodiversity by 2050 (Mitchard, 2018; Barbier et al., 2019). The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) was adopted at the General Assembly of the UN in order to address global environmental, social and economic challenges and to provide a healthy and peaceful living environment (Gratzer and Keeton, 2017). The 2030 Agenda contains 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets, of which 28 targets are forest-related (FAO,
2018). The UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 was initiated and met in 2017. The UN strategic plan was adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council, and the UN General Assembly in the same year (UNSPF, 2017). The UN strategic plan, although only voluntary, has a solid forest-focused direction for member countries to set up national implementation goals and achieve the target. All these policy regulations are shown in Table 1.
National policies and regulations
In addition to the international conferences, conventions and meetings that represent a global collaboration of prerenting deforestation and forest degradation, policies and regulations have also been established at the national level. Hie most important one is the Lacey Act of 1900 in the US. The Act has been marked as landmark legislation to be the world's first ban on trade in illegally sourced wood product. The Lacey Act was originally developed in order to prohibit the trading of wildlife, but it w'as expanded to cover illegal timber and made it unlawful to place any illegal timber or related products on the US market without proper declaration (Prestemon, 2015; Guan et al.. 2018).
Similarly, in the European Union (EU), the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan and the FLEGT Regulation were established in 2003 and 2005. respectively, aiming to combat illegal logging and ban the trading of illegally-sourced timber (Levashova, 2011; Tegegne et al., 2018). The FLEGT, under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the EU member countries and timber exporters, has set up a licensing scheme in order to identify legal timber and timber products in trading (Levashova, 2011; Guan et al., 2018). In 2010, under the motivation of the FLEGT, the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR 995/2010) was developed. The FLEGT licensed timber meets the due diligence requirements of the EUTR (Levashova, 2011; Prestemon. 2015; Tegegne et al., 2018). Over the years, the importance of forest management has encouraged the development of country-specific policies and regulations to suit their forest management.
Forestry labelling and certification programmes
Third-party certification and labelling systems har e also been developed internationally in order to set standards and to promote responsible forest management for local implementation in individual countries. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was first established in 1993 as a not-for-profit organisation which certifies timber and timber products from responsible sources (Guan et al., 2018; FSC, 2019). The FSC certified approximately 1/3 of the world’s forests. The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) was developed in 1999 and was also known as the Pan-European Forest Certification in 2004 (PEFC, 2018). The PEFC is the world's most extensive forest certification and labelling system of forest and forest-related products that certified approximately 2/3 of the world’s forests (Stupak et al., 2011; Guan et al., 2018; PEFC, 2018). FSC and PEFC together account for almost 100% of certified forests in the world. Timber sourced from certificated forests is well recognised and accepted in the environmental assessment of buildings in BREEAM, LEED and GreenStar.
The national and international collaborations play a significant role in the conservation and management of forests. The collaborative efforts help in broadening and engaging different stakeholders to support sustainable land-use and forest management. In addition, the collaborative actions help raise awareness for the importance of forest protection and promote the use of timber and timber products in the design and construction of low impact building. As part of the climatic change mitigation approach, research and development of prefabricated engineered wood products has gained momentum as they are increasingly used as alternative structural materials to replace traditional steel and concrete and reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions related to the manufacturing process.