Discussing Sustainable Management

1. The excerpt below comes from the Forest Principles (The agreement that was passed at the 1992 Earth Summit):

Forest resources and forest lands should be sustainably managed to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual human needs of present and future generations. These needs are for forest products and services, such as wood and wood products, water, food, fodder, medicine, fuel, shelter, employment, recreation, habitats for wildlife, landscape diversity and other forest products. Appropriate measures should be taken to protect forests against harmful effects of pollution, including air-borne pollution, fires, pests and diseases in order to maintain their full multiple value.

2. The 12th World Forestry Congress was held in Quebec City, Canada in September 2003. Over 4,000 people from 140 countries met to discuss the future of the global forest. Here are some of the things they discussed and proposed:

  • All societies are dependent on forests and trees.
  • Countries need to promote planted forests and planting of trees outside forest systems such as urban areas.
  • Countries should prevent, manage and combat forest fires, and restore forestlands as appropriate.
  • Countries should develop tools for better monitoring, assessing and reporting on the state of forests and on achieving the balance between the needs of people and the planet.

3. In the years following the Earth Summit, many meetings and groups were established to discuss how to accomplish the goals outlined during the global conference. One group, called the Montreal Process, developed a method to measure the conservation and sustainable management of forests. Using a set of criteria (goals) and indicators (measurable signs that goals are being achieved), the Montreal Process, and other groups like it, sought to provide a common definition for and means to attain a sustainable forest policy. At present, many international groups and organizations continue to establish methods to help measure the sustainable management of forests around the globe.