Policies, Initiatives and Regulations of Sustainable Forest Management

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

Year

Policies, regulations and conventions

Countries

Details

1900

Lacey Act

USA

Landmark legislation as being the world’s first ban on trade in illegally sourced wood products

Originally for prohibiting the trading of wildlife by making it a federal cnme

*

Amendment in 2008 expands to include plants and plant products and to ban on illegal trading and logging into the maiket

Set requirements to provide plant and plant product declaration for entering the market

1975

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

International

Also known as Hie Washington Convention

Open for signature in 1973 and entered into force in 1975

Developed as a result of a meeting at the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 1963

A multilateral mtemational agreement of 183 parties to protect endangered plants and animals

To ensure the survival of annuals and plants in the wild will not be threatened by mtemational trades

1983

International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA)

International

Fust negotiated under the UN Conference on Trade and Development m 1983

Open for signature m 1983 and entered mto force in 1985

*

Aims at promoting sustamable utilisation and conservation of tropical forests by providing an effective framework for the cooperation between producers and consumers

International Tropical Timber Organisation was established in 1986 to implement international sustainable forest management

ITTA 1994 replaced ITTA 1983 with a draft agreement on exports of tropical timber from sustainably managed sources and to establish funding to assist tropical timber producers m obtaimng the necessary resources necessary to achieve goals

*

ITTA 2006 superseded ITTA 1994 in promoting the expansion and diversification of mtemational h ade of tropical timber from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests

1992

United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Rio de Janeiro

International

Also known as the Earth Summit

Agenda 21, Chapter 11 on ‘Combating deforestation’

1992

Statement of Principles for die Sustainable Management of Forests

International

Also known as Hie Forest Principles or Rio Forest Principles

Adopted at the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in response to global concerns about forestry practices

Non-legally binding document to make recommendations for the conservation and sustainable management of all types of forests to meet the social, economic, cultural and spiritual needs of present and future generations

1992

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

International

A multilateral treaty conceived in 1988 at the UNEP

Aim at developing national strategies for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustamable use, and the sharing of benefits arising from resources

Opened for signature at the Rio Summit and entered mto force in 1993

16S Signatures and 19S parties in 2016

The first time in international law^ that the conservation of biodiversity is a common concent of humankind

Tw'o supplement agreements - Cartagena Protocol to regulate the transport of genetically modified organisms and Nagoya Protocol

On biosafety regulates the transport of genetically modified organisms

1993

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

International

A not-for-profit organisation to set international standards and to promote the world’s forests are managed environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable

An international certification and labelling system to ensure that paper and wood products are from responsible sources

Certified approximately 19S million hectares in S4 countries and 1,615 certificates

1995

Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF)

International

Developed by die United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) by the 3rd session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)

Mandated to pursue international consensus and formulate actions on forest-related issues

To combat deforestation, forest degradation and to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests

Report finalised in 1997 that contained more than 150 proposals for action

1997

Kyoto Protocol

International

First recognised the important role of forests in reducing carbon emissions from deforestation

1997

Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF)

International

Developed at the United National General Assembly 19tli Special Session (UNGSS)

Mandated to promote and facilitate the implementation of the IPF proposals for action

Report finalised in 2000 at the 8th Session of the CSD and contained more than 120 additional proposals for action

1999

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)

International

The world’s largest forest certification and labelling system of forest-based products based in Geneva, Switzerland

Includes 35 worldwide independent national forest certification schemes

Aims at promoting sustamable forest management through independent 3rd party certification

Certified approximately 2/3 of the world’s certified forest

Certified approximately 300 million hectares as at September 2018

2000

United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF)

International

Developed by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a high-level intergovernmental policy forum on forest-related matters based on the Rio Forest Principles and the outcomes of the IPF and IFF

2001

Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF)

International

Established in 2001 by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC)

Supports the woiic of UNFF and in partnership with 14 international organisations aims at improving forest management and conservation and issues m relation to the production and trade of forest products

2003

Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan

European

Union

The earliest policy direction to combat illegal logging

Mainly voluntary

Developed the FLEGT Regulation for implementation in 2005

2005

FLEGT Regulation

European

Union

Establishment of bilateral FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between the EU & timber-exporting countries

Entail the setting up of a licensing scheme to identify legal products exported from producer countries and approve them for importation into the EU

Leading to the introduction of green procurement policies and implementation of sustamable procurement policies

Motivated to the development of the Timber Regulation

2007

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD)

International

The idea of REDD was first discussed at the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, first recognised the importance of forest m reducing caibon emissions

UNFCCC-COP13 m Bah fonnally established the REDD

Commitments from international communities to reducing forest degradation through REDD activities

Table 1 contd. ...

Year

Policies, regulations and conventions

Countries

Details

200S

Conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+)

International

UNFCCC-COP 14 in Poznan REDD was expanded to REDD+

Expanded to include the conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries and develop funding system to help developing countries to conserve biodiversity and protect vital ecosystems

Key guidance and framework largely completed in 2013 (COP 19 in Warsaw)

2010

EU Timber Regulations (EUTR) EU Regulation No 995/2010

European

Union

Entered into force in 2013 and binding to all member states

Ban on illegal logging and importation of illegal timber products into EU countries

Undertake ‘due diligence’ in the tracking of imported timber products

2014

New York Declaration on Forest

International

UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit held in New York (also known as New York Climate Summit)

*

A voluntary and non-legally binding declaration supported by 40 governments, 192 organisations and 16 indigenous peoples

Aims to reduce deforestation in half by 2020 and end by 2030, and to restore 150 million hectares by 2020 and 350 million hectares bv 2030

2015

Pans Agreement

International

COP 21 of UNFCCC reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change

Opened for signature in 2016 and entered into force in the same year, ratified by 176 out of the 197 countnes

Final adoption of REDD+ and encourage countries to engage

Amis to conserve half of the terrestnal space for biodiversity by 2050

Propose to use bioeneigy with carbon capture and storage

2015

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

International

UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York, formulating plans for the year 2030

Adopted by the General Assembly of the UN and agreed by 193 members

Aims at ending poverty and four objectives—eradicate policy, heal the planet, secure prosperity, and foster peace and justice

Developed 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets (28 targets are forest-related)

2017

UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030

International

A special session of the UNFF in 2017 to provide vision for global forests in 2030 and agreed by 197 members

Adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council and the UN General Assembly in 2017

The first UN strategic plan for forests

Set 6 global forest goals and 26 targets to increase forest area by 3% by 2030 (approx. 120 million hectares)

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.

 
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