Curbing tropical forest loss by promoting the sustainable use of tropical forest resources to meet local and national needs. Creating the legal and administrative basis for managing the production of forests in ways which allow the forests to be managed as a renewable natural resource and contribute to biological diversity conservation.
Sustainable forestry aims to produce sustained yields of timber while simultaneously maintaining the environmental and social benefits of forests. It is currently being promoted as an alternative to destructive land uses such as unregulated logging and unplanned conversion to agriculture of tropical forests.
The Tropical Forestry Action Programme (TFAP) is a global strategy developed by the FAO, UNDP, the World Bank and the World Resources Institute, with the cooperation of some 40 donor countries, international organizations and NGOs. As a result, Forestry Action Plans (FAPs) have been carried out in at least 90 countries. TFAP provides a flexible framework within which each tropical country identifies the main issues, defines medium and long-term strategies and formulates its national forestry action plan, on the basis of a multi-disciplinary approach for the sustainable development of forest resources. Likewise, it provides a mechanism for concerted international action for technical and financial support to national efforts. TFAP supports country-driven, multidisciplinary and broad-based participatory process, leading to formulation and implementation of long-term strategies and a comprehensive national forestry action plan. It seeks to strengthen the national capacity, both governmental and non-governmental, for planning and implementation of the plan. It catalyzes action with the emphasis on country-driven activity, and in a fully transparent way, arrests deforestation and move towards sustainable development of forestry resources. It catalyzes action to improve the lives of rural people, increasing food production, improving methods of shifting cultivation, increasing supplies of fuelwood and efficiency of its use. It supports development of human resources and strengthening of institutions and seeks to expand income and employment opportunities. It employs a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary approach to the problem of deforestation, devotes major attention to policies and other factors outside forests contributing to deforestation, promotes conservation of bio-diversity and give due attention to other forest-related global environmental concerns, ensures full involvement of people dependent on forests for their livelihood in development of national forest plans, recognizes the need for initiatives beyond TFAP and seek to complement such initiatives.
At the meeting of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) held in Bali in 1990, ITTO adopted the target on ensuring that all tropical timber marketed international should, by the year 2000, come from forests that are managed sustainably.
The Tropical Forest Action Plan has been described as a 'jet set' environmentalist's solution to the tropical forest problem which fails to take account of the interests of those who live in and near the forests. The plan has desirable objectives it would seem, but the current expenditure on anti-erosion planting and on helping local people is negligible, as is the understanding of why people are obliged to destroy their environment.