International Forestry Workshops

A project undertaken by The ATSE Crawford Fund and supervised by D Mentz

Forests are a major resource for many countries in the South Pacific region. They frequently provide the basis for subsistence economies, and many have been the basis of export industries and other large industrial developments. Their industrial utilisation has often been marked by exploitation of both the forests and associated communities. International interest in better forest management quickened following the adoption by many countries of a statement of principles on forestry at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janiero in 1992. Several agencies and academic institutions in Australia have sought to foster better forest management in the Southeast Asian and Pacific region, particularly in countries with small economies and limited professional resources.

This project of two international workshops aimed to identify and recommend research priorities for the management of forests for commercial purposes, the management of biodiversity, the integration of reserve and off-reserve management, and the social, economic, environmental and methodological aspects of sustainable forest management. The workshops also provided an opportunity to enhance research collaboration between participants.

The first workshop was held near Melbourne, Victoria, in 1998. Key topics were introduced by prepared papers and provided a basis for extensive discussion among the twelve Australian and ten international participants. Australian approaches to sustainable forest management, and progress in their implementation, were seen first hand during field visits. The priorities identified during the discussions were reported in the published workshop proceedings.

The second workshop was held in Ubud, Bali, in June 2001, in collaboration with the Center for International Forestry Research, based in Bogor. There were twenty-five participants, including eight from Australia. The theme, Pathways to Sustainable Forest Management, was approached through three topics:

  • corporatisation, commercialisation and certification,
  • codes of practice and reduced impact logging,
  • decentralisation, participatory management and property rights.

These topics encompassed key issues for forest policy makers, managers, researchers and academics in the region. The concluding discussion considered that-

  • Institutional arrangements supportive of sustainable forest management (SFM) are fundamental to achievement of enduring outcomes. Supportive arrangements are necessary at all levels: international, national, landscape (watershed) and local.
  • The minimisation or optimisation of transaction costs, consistent with delivery of benefits, will be a feature of appropriate, enduring institutional arrangements. Experience in all countries provides other principles which must underlie the development of successful arrangements. Independent facilitation and broad representation are two such principles.
  • The decentralisation process in Indonesia offers a window of opportunity in which the most urgent need is for outreach to local communities, rather than ‘research’.
  • More generally, research needs to shift further to an action research basis: from a process of extracting information to one of dialogue and partnership, and transfer and/or transformation of information for community benefit in both the short and long term.
Publications

Brown, A.G. (ed.) 1999. Sustainable Forest Management: Proceedings of the Hermon Slade International Workshop, 30 November – 4 December 1998, Melbourne, Victoria. The Crawford Fund, Parkville, Victoria, vi + 71 pp.
ISBN 0 643 06316 1

Brown, A.G. (ed.) 2002. Pathways to Sustainable Forest Management. Proceedings of the Second Hermon Slade International Workshop, Ubud, Bali, 5–8 June 2001. The ATSE Crawford Fund, Parkville, Victoria, iv + 88 pp.
ISBN 1 875618 72 4

Copies of these proceedings are available from The ASTSE Crawford Fund, 1 Leonard Street, Parkville, Victoria 3052 (www.crawfordfund.org; crawford@mira.net )

 

Proceedings of the first workshop held near Melbourne Australia in December 1998.

Proceedings of the second workshop held in Bali Indonesia in June 2001.