Sustainable forest industries

Timber production in a community-owned wood industry in Ixtlan, Oaxaca, Mexico. ITTO supports value adding and the further processing of timber and non-timber forest products in the tropics. Photo: T. Yanuariadi/ITTO

Sustainable tropical forest industries can be transformative for local economies and sustainable development. They can create value from forest use through investments in local processing, foreign exchange earnings, employment, technology transfer, training and skills development, and the payment of taxes and royalties to governments. Many forest companies in tropical countries also perform social functions that governments are unable to provide, such as health care, education and infrastructure development, especially in remote areas.
 
Sustainable tropical forest industries are an important part of the solution to forest degradation, deforestation and poverty. In many tropical countries, however, small and medium-sized forest enterprises (SMEs) often lack the capacity and enabling environment the need to flourish. They face challenges such as:

  • inadequate planning and control of operations
  • lack of access to finance
  • low profitability
  • lack of marketing skills
  • lack of research and development
  • lack of ownership of, or control over, resources.
 
ITTO is helping provide solutions for these and other challenges by supporting countries and enterprises to improve efficiency in the processing and marketing of forest products; address forest law enforcement, governance and trade; adopt forest certification and green supply chains; and establish and manage forest plantations.

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