An innovative ITTO project signed in September by ITTO's Executive Director, D Sobral, and the Colombian minister for forestry, Sr Leonardo Munoz Cardona, will seek new financial mechanisms for supporting sustainable forest management.
The project, 'Alternative financing model for sustainable forest management in San Nicolas' (PD 54/99 Rev.2 F), will be implemented by the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Rio Negro in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Institute for Materials and Technologies Research and Testing.
The San Nicolas valley, where the project will be based, is located in the high plateau region of east-central Colombia near the city of Medellin. The project will focus on developing new funding sources for sustainable forest management and protection in a proposed sustainable forest management area covering 72,000 hectares.
Possible revenue sources include:
• the sale of products from secondary forests under sustainable management;
• the sale of environmental shares that allow corporate purchasers to obtain 'environmental recognition' for use in publicity campaigns; and
• the sale of carbon certificates through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) established under the Kyoto Protocol of the Framework Convention on Climate Change - should forests be included in the CDM.
According to Dr Sobral, there is an urgent need to find extra revenue sources for sustainable forest management.
"One reason that forests continue to be cleared is that alternative land uses are considered more profitable than forestry," he said. "We all know that forests produce much more than timber. The global community will need to start paying for all forest products and services if it wants to conserve the forests."
Some 250,000 people live in the region in which the project is to be implemented.
"These people need to make a living," said Dr Sobral. "Our challenge is to help them do that while also conserving the forest."
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