Asia-Pacific forests require balance of conservation, use and trade

19 February 2016

ITTO and World Resources Institute to lead “Pathways to prosperity” stream at Asia-Pacific Forestry Week

The importance of the international trade in forest goods and environmental services in the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region will be illuminated at the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week, starting on Monday 22 February in the Clark Port Free Zone in the Philippines.
Stream 1, “Pathways to prosperity: future trade and markets”, which will be led by ITTO and the World Resources Institute, will feature a range of events and speakers with interests in the forest industry, international forest trade and markets for forest products in the Asia-Pacific region. The stream will generate recommendations for ensuring that the trade in forest goods and environmental services continues to contribute to economic wealth while maintaining the social and environmental values of the region’s forests.
The forest products trade is recovering from the recent global recession, but this recovery is fragile. Maintaining the important economic role of forests in the region requires action to achieve a balance between conservation, restoration, cost-effectiveness and efficiency in the production of timber and other forest goods.
Talking points in Stream 1 will include the following:
  • Domestic markets for forest products continue to grow quickly in the Asia-Pacific region. This is a significant shift for the timber industry, which, in the past, has focused on export markets.
  • The economic slowdown in China, particularly the decline of demand in the housing market, affects the regional timber industry.
  • The region will continue to grow strongly in the medium-to-long term. The forest industry needs a sustainably managed source of timber to avoid negative impacts on remaining primary and high-conservation-value forests.
  • The process of regional economic integration through the ASEAN Economic Community will have a strong impact on forests and the timber trade and should be implemented carefully to avoid negative impacts on forests and to prevent the growth of wildlife-trafficking and timber-trafficking networks.
  • The dynamic of forest governance and trade in the Asia-Pacific region is shifting in light of emerging timber legality regulations. Major consumer countries in the Asia-Pacific region are developing measures similar to the timber legality mandates already in place in western consumer countries.
  • Forest industry associations can play an important bridging function between governments and the timber industry and should be strengthened.
  • New markets are emerging for non-timber forest products and environmental services, which typically are overregulated and undervalued but which play key roles in the food security and livelihoods of local communities.
Stream 1 will open at 13:30 hrs on 23 February 2016 at the Widus Hotel (Macau Hall), Clark Port Free Zone, Pampanga, Philippines.