Most countries with significant forest resources have, at one time or another, heard their timber sector referred to as a ‘sunset’ industry. This is usually the case when other economic development options present themselves that can appear more dynamic and profitable than turning trees into boards. The rapid developments underway in the climate change negotiations and the coalescence of several new partnerships to provide funds to countries for averting deforestation (see TFU 17/2) have led some observers (and some tropical countries) to see carbon credits and related funds as a new dawn for the conservation and sustainable development of tropical forests. While there is unprecedented momentum (for which the World Bank and other partners, who recently announced a $300 million fund for averted deforestation, are to be congratulated), it is germane to consider the development of other ‘new dawns’ for tropical forestry that have been announced over the past couple of decades.
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