A new report finds that the area of sustainably managed forest in the world’s tropical regions increased from 36 million hectares (89 million acres) to 53 million hectares from 2005 to 2010, but that 90 percent of the planet’s tropical forests remain either poorly managed or not managed at all.
In a comprehensive survey of forestry management in 33 countries — including nations across Africa, Asia, and Latin America — the Japan-based International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) found that efforts to preserve forest resources had a significant impact over the last five years, including campaigns to stimulate demand for sustainably harvested timber.
The ITTO also said that the UN-based initiative known as REDD, for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, was leading to improved forest management in places as developed nations pay developing nations to preserve forests.
But the report warns that such efforts could easily be overwhelmed in the long term by forces driving deforestation, including higher food and fuel prices.
Demand for certified wood will likely only affect a small portion of the world’s tropical forest areas, said Emmanuel Ze Meka, executive director of ITTO.
And while some countries have embraced climate-related schemes to preserve forests as an attractive revenue source, he said those funds “may not materialize to the extent hoped for.”
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.