Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)
Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) aims to ensure that products and social, cultural, and environmental services provided by forests meet the needs of the current generation, while at the same time maintaining their availability for the development needs of future generations. Despite a long history of forest conversion and forest degradation due to unsustainable logging practices, the natural forests of Southeast Asia still constitute an immense renewable resource and provide vital contributions to the economic and social development of the region. Invariably, the countries of the region are committed to the principle of sustainable forest management (SFM), as expressed in their respective forest policies and/or sector strategies. In line with international policy debates (e.g. UNCED, 1992: Rio Declaration and Forest Principles) the definition of SFM applied by these countries has gradually evolved from a focus on sustained timber production to sustainable forest management that embraces the full range of economic, environmental and social aspects.
ASEAN Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Management of Tropical Forests (C&I)
Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management were developed to provide countries with a framework for defining sustainable forest management and assessing progress towards this goal. They are tools to help identify trends in the forest sector and the effects of forest management interventions over time, and to facilitate decision making in national forest policy processes. The ultimate aim of these tools is to promote improved forest management practices over time, and to foster the development of a healthier and more productive forest resource base.
A total set of 7 criteria for monitoring and assessing sustainable management of tropical forests in ASEAN were identified, as well as 59 indicators. These indicators cover a range of forestry aspects required to attain sustainable forest management, from economic and institutional frameworks; description of resource base and conservation and protection procedures; areas damaged by human activities and natural causes; resource assessment and planning procedures for forest harvesting; species and genetic diversity; management guidelines for reduced/low impact logging; the protection of soil productivity and downstream catchment values; and endangered, rare and threatened species, including procedures for their monitoring and evaluation; utilization of wood and non-wood forest products; and employment; to community participation.
The decisions of the ASEAN Workshop on MAR for Assessing Progress Towards Sustainable Forest Management in the ASEAN Region, and the seven common thematic areas of the “International Conference on the Contribution of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management: The Way Forward (CICI-2003)” that was held in Guatemala City, Guatemala in 2003, namely, (i) extent of forest resources, (ii) biological diversity, (iii) forest health and vitality, (iv) productive functions of forest resources, (v) protective functions of forest resources, (vi) socio-economic functions, and (vii) legal, policy and institutional framework, as well as the follow-up “Experts Consultation on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management” held in Cebu City, the Philippines in 2004.
The ASEAN C & I for sustainable management of tropical forests as well as the MAR Format were approved by the 10th Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF) in Vientiane, 12 – 13 July 2007.
Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting Format for Sustainable Forest Management in ASEAN (MAR)
Achieving sustainable management of forest is the ultimate goal of any forest management practices. All forest organizations and forest owners, especially those directly involved in the management, conservation and development of forest resources are responsible to carry out effective monitoring, assessment and reporting on the forest management practices implemented, based on the principles of sustainable forest management through the use of agreed criteria and indicators. They are tools to help identify trends in the forest sector and the effects of forest management interventions over time, and to facilitate decision making in national forest policy processes.
The Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting Format for Sustainable Forest Management in ASEAN is developed based on the format of the 2005 “Revised ITTO Criteria and Indicators for the Sustainable Management of Tropical Forests, including Reporting Format”, and taking into account the “Draft Manual for the Assessment Procedures for ASEAN Regional Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests” that was endorsed by the Twenty-second Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 26-27 October, 2000; which were agreed at the Second Meeting of the ASEAN Experts Group on International Forest Policy Processes (AEG-IFPP).