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Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)
As most of the forests worldwide are managed, sustainable forest management (SFM) is a key issue to halt the alarming global forest loss of 13 million hectares per year. This is essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation, to slow down the loss of biodiversity and to ensure environmental services forests provide for human well-being.
Illegal logging is one of the main reasons for deforestation. It takes place in various countries around the world – from the tropics up to the temperate and boreal forests of Eastern Europe and Russia. Illegal logging causes governments in developing countries of an estimated €10-15 billion every year in lost revenue and depresses wood prices by 7% to 16% globally. Producer countries have to be supported to strengthen governance and forest law enforcement in order to eliminate illegal logging – although legality is only the first step to sustainability.
Forest Certification is widely seen as the most important initiative of the last decade to promote better forest management. Certification provides forest owners a competitive advantage for maintaining and accessing new markets as well as a benchmark for best practice.
In the last decade however, an inflationary trend in the number of certification systems of various quality makes it hard for companies and consumers to judge the effectiveness of these tools, although the key to improve the way forests are managed through forest certification is the credibility and quality of forest certification systems.
Growing demand for forest biomass – fuel wood for private households as well as wood chips for biomass power plants – brings new challenges for sustainable forest management. Forest biomass production should follow ecological guidelines in order to avoid future growth loss, to maintain stability of forest stands, and to reduce impacts on biodiversity. In order to avoid reverse effect on greenhouse gas balance biomass action plans have to assure ecological criteria for production and import of biomass and biofuels.

Marketing of Sustainable Forest Products
A growing number of companies takes leadership and promotes responsible forest management instead of purchasing timber and paper products from illegal and unsustainable sources. Chain-of-Custody Certification allows wood processing companies as well as forest and paper industries to guarantee their customers the exclusion of illegal and unsustainable wood from the supply chain.
In order to meet the growing demand of certified timber and paper products, market links between certified companies have to be improved.
Retailers can undertake a stepwise approach to achieve more responsible purchasing of forest products.
Consumer orientated information
about sustainable forest products secures a steady growth in demand for certified timber and paper products.
Agricultural commodities like soy & palm oil gain in importance as a driving force in rain forest destruction. Raising demand for biofuels will push forest conversion, unless criteria for sustainable production are developed and implemented.

International Trade
Forest degradation and destruction through illegal and unsustainable management practices and land-use change is driven forward by the demand in European countries for timber, paper, pulp, soy and palm oil. Analyses of International Trade help to determine import routes of critical products as well as to develop adequate solutions to reduce Europe’s footprint on the World’s forests.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) protects specific species of animal or plant including timber which are close to extinction. CITES is currently the only legal instrument, which allows authorities of consumer countries to control the legal origin of timber products, to confiscate goods deriving from illegal sources and to prosecute related trade. Common timber species like Merbau will get listed on CITES within the next months.

Environmental & Forest Policy
The European Union adopted an Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) to tackling illegal logging. Voluntary partnership agreements are currently negotiated with producer countries to push for good governance and to ensure only legal timber enters the EU. Support of EU governments is needed to negotiate strong partnership agreements, implement an effective FLEGT licensing scheme and prove options like additional legislation or broadening the range of wood products covered by FLEGT.
As timber bought for public purposes makes up 18% of the timber market in Europe, greening public procurement is an important tool to improve forest management worldwide. In several EU member state countries public procurement policies are currently under revision. Strong environmental criteria are needed to ensure on legally and sustainable harvested timber is sourced through public procurement contracts in the EU.
Forest programmes and action plans should not focus on improving forest management on national level only, but take international responsibility into account.
Biomass action plans, which are currently under development in the EU and several member states, should include criteria on responsible production of biomass to ensure sustainability of bio-energy. Rainforest destruction for production of biofuels like palm oil worsens global greenhouse gas balance.

Forests & Climate Change
Global warming provides serious threats to forests and challenges sustainable forest management. Adaptation of Forest Management is needed to mitigate effects of climate change, as risk of extreme weather events, pests and forest fires will raise.
Forests as Carbon Sinks limit the greenhouse effect contributing to global warming, by absorbing CO2, the main greenhouse gas. Inversely, forest destruction contributes to 20% of global CO2 emissions. Recognition of forest conservation and restoration as carbon offsets may provide new funding options, by selling such carbon offsets under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), created by the Kyoto Protocol or on the voluntary market.

Nature Conservation
Forests serve as natural habitats to almost two thirds of all Earth’s species, therefore acting as a stronghold to safeguard biodiversity. Considering nature conservation in forest management is essential to fulfil the international commitment of the Convention of Biodiversity (CBD), to stop loss of biodiversity.
The return of large carnivores like bear, lynx and wolf to Central Europe reveals the urgency of adequate wildlife management. Wildlife management plans have to consider wildlife conservation as well as human needs and are best developed under participation of all relevant stakeholders. Instruments exist to reduce damages on human property without harming the wild animal.
Quality of habitat for wildlife can be improved by specific forest management measures like increasing the amount of dead wood in favour of biodiversity. Planting fruit trees and other eatable plants improves food supply for bears.

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4con Forest Consulting Peter Hirschberger, Eichetstraße 13a, 83233 Bernau a. Chiemsee, Deutschland, Tel.: +49 (8051) 3089307, info@forestconsulting.net