Global summary

This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the forest management situation in all 33 of ITTO’s producer member countries. Using information submitted by the countries themselves and supplemented by data from a wide range of other sources, it addresses the policy and institutional settings in each country, the approaches taken to the allocation and management of resources, and the status of management of those resources.

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Global summary

Despite difficulties and some notable deficiencies, there has been significant progress towards sustainable forest management (SFM) in the tropics since an initial survey by ITTO in 1988. Countries have established and are starting to implement new forest policies that contain the basic elements of SFM. More forests have been given some security by commitment as permanent forest estate (PFE – or a similar concept) for production or protection, and more are actually being managed sustainably. Moreover, some of the PFE is also certified – a new development since 1988. All this is encouraging, but the proportion of natural production forest under SFM is still very low, and SFM is distributed unevenly across the tropics and within countries.

In ITTO producer member countries of all three regions combined, at least 25.2 million hectares of the natural production PFE (7.1% of the 353 million hectares of total natural production PFE) are estimated to be managed sustainably. An estimated 11.2 million hectares (2.4%) of the protection PFE (461 million hectares) are thought to be so managed. Thus, a minimum of 36.4 million hectares (4.5%) of the total natural PFE (814 million hectares) are considered to be under SFM. An estimated 96.2 million hectares (27%) of natural production PFE are covered by management plans and 10.5 million hectares (3.0%) are certified; about 17.8 million hectares (3.8%) of protection PFE have management plans. An estimated 14.3 million hectares of plantations (32% of all plantations in the PFE) are covered by management plans; 1.77 million hectares (3.9%) are certified.

Despite the progress made since 1988, significant areas of tropical forest are still lost every year, and unsustainable (and often illegal) extraction of tropical forest resources remains widespread. However, with most countries now attempting widespread implementation of SFM, it is hoped that the pace of progress will increase in coming years.