Thirteenth Conference – 1989, New Zealand

Excerpt from: Forestry: A Multiple-Use Enterprise: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Commonwealth Forestry Conference, Rotorua, New Zealand, 17-30 September 1989 (p. 361-362) . Edited by G.I. Tarlton. Forest Research Institute, Ministry of Forestry, Rotorua, New Zealand, 1990. p. 376

Delegates of the 13th Commonwealth Forestry Conference, Rotorua, New Zealand


A. Tropical and Global Forestry

1. That the Conference recommends to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting that they urge member countries to institute programmes and incentives to promote both forest restoration and afforestation, and to encourage the greater use of wood products to ameliorate global warming.

2. That the Conference strongly supports the Tropical Forestry Action Plan (TFAP) initiative while recognizing that there is scope for more collaboration with non-government organisations, and a closer working relation between foresters and environmentalists, and for refining targeting to ensure its effectiveness.

3. That the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting be urged to establish a special Commonwealth TFAP support fund to enable Commonwealth countries to play their full part in implementing the TFAP by increasing and strengthening the resources available for project preparation and implementation and for promoting regional activities, particularly those which promote the reconciliation of environmental interests and sustainable forest management.

4. That, to promote TFAP, Regional Working Groups be formed to encompass interests concerned with the environment, timber production, timber trade, forestry, agriculture, finance, and economic development to carry out an immediate review of possible options for reconciling the objectives of conservation of biological diversity and protection of local peoples’ interests on the one hand, and the continuation of sustainably managed timber production on the other.

5. That there should be an intensification of national and international efforts, including the provision of long-term funding, to identify, research, and manage representative protected core areas of natural forest and woodland.

6. That these protected core areas be managed, as far as is possible, within a matrix of forests or woodland managed for the sustainable production of forest products for the benefit of local populations. 7. That, wherever the opportunity arises to do so, Forest Departments should actively support debt-for-nature swap initiatives.

B. Training and Research

8. That the Oxford Forestry Institute take the initiative and consult with other countries to develop comprehensive and compatible forestry databases, including species that are suitable for multipurpose uses, to avoid duplication of research and encourage full utilisation of existing knowledge.

9. That donor agencies fund exchange visits between developing countries in situations where there could be a useful exchange of technology; and that these agencies fund the training and the provision of training aids to practicing managers in basic interpretation of remote sensing imagery, ecological surveys in tropical forests, and other relevant technical innovations, with an emphasis on techniques of immediate relevance.

10. That Commonwealth forestry research organisations increase the resources devoted to studying the effects of climate change on forests; carrying out inventories of plant and animal species; studying the scale of preservation needed to maintain diversity; elucidating methods of propagation and culture; and undertaking the valuation of conservation benefits.

C. Policy and Promotion

11. That forestry bodies promote the strategic, economic, and social advantages of balanced forest management and forestry’s role in mitigating deleterious impacts of climate change, adopting professional public relations techniques.

12.· That Governments ensure the existence of an effective, unified institutional framework for forestry.

13. That forestry authorities review their forest management policies and laws to encompass all forest values, including non-commercial, environmental, and social benefits as well as timber values; establish the training, data collection, operational techniques, and planning systems required to achieve these objectives; and ensure active participation by the public and especially local communities in discussion of the implementation of policy.

14. That the Conference supports the review of the timber pricing and concession policy project now underway in West Africa and that, depending on experience gained, similar regional approaches should be organised to encourage harmonisation of timber pricing and concession policies in the rest of Africa, South East Asia, and Latin America.

15. That Commonwealth donor agencies undertake an early review of experimental land tenure schemes that permit private or community forestry on government-owned land and of their potential for wider application in other countries.

D. Valuation of Resources

16. That Commonwealth countries introduce a system, at levels of sophistication appropriate to member countries, of regular revaluation of timber resources to meet the need to capture the change in value of the asset as a measure of stewardship.

17. That the Albury workshop convenors co-ordinate the preparation of:

(i) guidelines for forest financial and management accounting, including minimum financial accounting standards and a glossary of accounting terminology;

(ii) a compendium on valuation/revaluation methods;

(iii) guidelines on ways of assessing non-commercial benefits on a basis comparable with those available for timber resources; and report in the form agreed to at the workshop by 31 December 1990.

E. Profitability of Forest Production

18. That other Commonwealth countries study approaches such as those adopted in New Zealand to the development of integrated modelling which provides the means to identify and quantify those improvements in practice which will have the greatest impact on profitability.

19. That afforestation projects should locate plantations on high quality and easy terrain areas, near markets, and use genetically improved growing stock as these factors can substantially improve plantation profitability.

Press Release

Global Forestry Crisis – Commonwealth Initiatives

“The rate of deforestation in most tropical countries of the Commonwealth is still increasing and was more serious than had previously been predicted”, the Honourable Peter Tapsell, New Zealand Minister for Forestry, said today at the closing address of the Commonwealth Forestry Conference held in Rotorua. “And Commonwealth foresters are playing a key role in tackling this global crisis.”

The Conference, which attracted more than 200 delegates from 33 countries, has as its theme “Forestry – a Multiple-use Enterprise”. Mr. Tapsell said that the Tropical Forestry Action Plan, which was initiated by foresters 4 years ago, addressed the fundamental social, technical, and institutional causes of tropical deforestation.

He said that, in addition to reversing the crisis of poverty facing local communities in tropical countries, the application of innovative and socially sensitive forestry practices would ensure the maintenance of biological diversity and reduce the Greenhouse Effect which were world issues.

The Conference unanimously endorsed a proposal to ask the Commonwealth Heads of Government, who will be meeting in Malaysia in October, to initiate Commonwealth action on the Tropical Forestry Action Plan, and the Greenhouse Effect.

Mr. Tapsell said that delegates to the Conference had confirmed that the technical and management expertise which underpinned New Zealand’s plantation forests was second to none. And he said he hoped that this expertise could be shared with the rest of the world. This expertise also made it possible to establish highly profitable plantations which, in addition to providing jobs and resources, took pressure off the native forests.

Robin Cutler, the Chairman of the Conference and Secretary of the New Zealand Ministry of Forestry, said that a constant theme throughout the Conference was the importance of community participation in forest management. He observed that there were remarkable parallels between the close involvement of the Maori people in New Zealand forestry and similar schemes described by delegates from India and Africa.

The Conference has highlighted the fact that exciting initiatives in both technical and social forestry have the potential to reverse the increasing rate of forest destruction. But, he said, a dramatic increase in funding is necessary if this is to be achieved.

While clearing for agriculture is responsible for most deforestation, the massive demand for fuelwood and forest grazing, together with wildfires are also major causes of the destruction of forests, he said. Contrary to popular belief commercial logging is not the major cause of deforestation.

Mr. Cutler said he was interested to listen to Conference delegates describe how the introduction of agroforestry, and of new tree species and site preparation techniques, had rehabilitated degraded forests and provided for the essential needs of local communities.

He said that the Conference had concluded that sustainably managed forests could become biological factories providing a multitude of products from rare pharmaceutical chemicals to timber while at the same time ensuring the conservation of plant and animal species.

At the invitation of the Malaysian Government the Fourteenth Commonwealth Forestry Conference will be held in Malaysia in 1993.”