Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Recent increase in sustainably managed tropical forests in the face of increasing pressure

Science Daily: A comprehensive assessment of tropical forest management reports a 50 percent increase in the area of tropical forest under sustainable management in just five years, but cautions that key drivers of that increase -- growing demand for certified timber and funding for climate change initiatives -- could have only a marginal impact in the long-term.

Drawing on detailed data on each of the 33 countries that together control almost all of the world's tropical rainforests and tropical timber production, the report released by the Japan-based International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) also warns that more than 90 percent of the global tropical forest estate continues to be managed poorly or not at all. And, looking ahead, the report suggests that forces favoring forest destruction, such as higher food and fuel prices, could easily overwhelm those that favor forest conservation.

ITTO is an intergovernmental body charged with promoting the sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources. The combined annual tropical timber exports (including logs and sawnwood and finished products like furniture) of the 33 producer countries of ITTO are valued at well over $US 20 billion.

Specifically, the report, "Status of Tropical Forest Management 2011," finds that between 2005 and 2010, the area of natural tropical forest under sustainable management across Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean increased from 36 million hectares (89 million acres) to 53 million hectares (134 million acres), an area about the size of Thailand. Moreover, the area of timber-production forests subject to at least some type of management plan -- a critical first step toward achieving sustainability -- has increased by about one-third since 2005 and now totals 131 million hectares….

Figure 3.28 Timber from a Malaysian forest at a sawmill where it is being processed for export." Codrington, Stephen. Planet Geography 3rd Edition (2005) [1] Personal photo by Stephen Codrington uploaded with permission for the benefit of geography on Wikimedia projects, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license

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