Promoting sustainable use of forest biodiversity

Developing sustainable use of forest biological diversity
It is impossible to separate the issues of conservation for forest biological resources and the sustainable use of forest biological resources. Successful conservation requires the sustainable use of the components of forest biological diversity; the products and services of forest ecosystems and the genetic resources represented by forest populations and organisms< Practising sustainable forest management involves managing forest ecosystems to maintain their integrity, productive capacity, resiliency and biodiversity.
Both traditional and modern management regimes for forests have been based on the principle of sustainable use, manifested by regulation of the level of harvest to within the productive capacity of the forest. Whilst "scientific forestry" since the 18th century has focused principally on the "sustained yield" of wood products, traditional management regimes have applied to a much broader range of (primarily) non-timber forest products. More recently, modern forestry has acknowledged explicitly the importance of maintaining ecosystem function and process to maintaining productivity, and has sought to develop a more holistic approach to ecosystem management, a philosophy encapsulated by the so-called "new forestry". Ecological perspectives, and therefore ecological principles, have been dominant in the formulation of these management regimes. Information on levels and patterns of genetic variation within species has been only sparsely available, and therefore little used to date. The major challenge to sustainable use of the components of forest biological diversity is the incorporation into these ecologically-based management regimes of the principles and practices arising from our emerging knowledge of the genetic structure and dynamics of forest populations.

The [Convention on Biological Diversity], Article 10, states: Sustainable Use of Components of Biological Diversity. Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate: (a) Integrate consideration of the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources into national decision-making; (b) Adopt measures relating to the use of biological resources to avoid or minimize adverse impacts on biological diversity; (c) Protect and encourage customary use of biological resources in accordance with traditional cultural practices that are compatible with conservation or sustainable use requirements; (d) Support local populations to develop and implement remedial action in degraded areas where biological diversity has been reduced; and (e) Encourage cooperation between its governmental authorities and its private sector in developing methods for sustainable use of biological resources.

Iwokrama International Rain Forest Programme has been launched in 1990, after the people of Guyana dedicated 360,000 hectares (almost a million acres) of rain forest to demonstrate that the tropical forest could provide economic benefits without destroying its biological diversity. The Iwokrama Forest is located in central Guyana some 300 km south of Georgetown, the capital. The Iwokrama programme was named after the Iwokrama mountains which are a major topological feature of the site. Iwokrama's fundamental objective is to define the extent to which sustainable utilization of tropical forest resources is compatible with their conservation and to determine the impact of such utilization on their biodiversity. Iwokrama's rain forests are in this respect a "living laboratory" for research on these issues. Financial sustainability for the Iwokrama programme is achieved through timber and non-timber production, eco-tourism, mineral extraction, and royalties earned for forest products resulting from research and development activities.

In 1995, twelve nations with 90% of the world's temperate and boreal forests came together under the Montreal Process Working Group to endorse a comprehensive set of "criteria and indicators" of sustainable forest management. Today, over 150 countries are beginning to implement such criteria and indicators.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal