Eleventh Conference – 1980, Trinidad

Excerpt from “Eleventh Commonwealth Forestry Conference, Held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, During 8–26 September 1980”. Poore, M. E. D. (1981) in Environmental Conservation, 8(1), 74-74.

The theme of this Conference was the Contribution of Forestry to Social and Economic Development. It was attended by participants from nearly 30 Commonwealth countries.

The Proceedings and Recommendations of the Conference emphasized the increased contribution to social and economic welfare that forestry is capable of making in all countries, and especially for the rural poor in developing countries. The critical importance of increased fuel-wood production and of cooperative efforts to use agro-forestry techniques, were recognized as essential tasks for forestry in developing countries. The environmental benefits of forests – especially for conservation of soil and of wildlife – were duly stressed, as were the effects on existing forests of the rising pressures of demand for land and timber. Action was needed to meet these demands and to maintain and increase benefits.

Amongst other important factors noted were the need for improved training of supervisors and forest workers in appropriate technologies, and for an increased R&D programme – particularly on fast-growing species and on potential pests and diseases of man-made forests.

A substantial increase in the level of reafforestation during the next decade would be necessary in order to contribute adequately to the future world needs of wood (including fuel-wood). This would only be possible if increased financing were available, especially for developing countries. All discussions reflected the concern felt over the current high rate of depletion of forests, especially in tropical regions, and the Conference accepted that the forestry profession has a major role to play in ensuring a continuous flow of goods and services from the land.