Cover image for Our forests, our future : report of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development
Our forests, our future : report of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development
World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development.
Publication Information:
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxi, 205 pages : color illustrations, color maps ; 26 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SD387.S87 O87 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Forests are extraordinary in their contribution to the basic human need for environmental stability and security, as well as in their contribution to the livelihood of many. The World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development (WCFSD), through its unique makeup and independent nature, has been able to address the most significant issues surrounding the world's forests in a manner not possible for any other body or institution. By convening public hearings all over the world to give voice to those who depend on forests, and by engaging itself in the politics of the issues at the highest levels, the WCFSD has endeavored to address fundamental and serious concerns. This report, representing the culmination of these efforts, discusses forest practices, politics and policies, and the social situations which they create or perpetuate and presents the Commission's findings, conclusions and recommendations.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development, a diverse, international group, provides an effective call-to-action for saving the world's forests based on feedback from stakeholders the world over. The individual authors did an excellent job of summarizing the current state of the world's forests and emphasizing the important interrelationships and conflicts among economic, ecological, political, and social functions of forests. Other strengths include effective linkage of forestry practices to other environmental issues, such as human population growth, poverty, and global climate change; recognition of regional differences and attention to indigenous peoples; and concrete proposals for helping alleviate some of the problems. However, the scientific basis and ecological implications are often only superficially alluded to, with general statements that could potentially be misunderstood or that need more detail. Though the individual authors did include some scientific evidence, more effort appears to have gone into the political and social aspects. Additionally, the book seemed somewhat alarmist and did not well represent current efforts and successes of forest management, in addition to failures. This interesting book brings needed attention to some of the current issues, particularly social issues, surrounding the world's forests, but its usefulness for undergraduates is limited. Graduate students; faculty. K. D. Brosofske; Michigan Technological University

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
The World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Developmentp. xv
Acknowledgementsp. xix
Acronymnsp. xx
1 Forests in crisisp. 1
1.1 The nature of the crisisp. 2
1.2 Forests and the integrity of the human habitatp. 2
1.3 Trends in forest areap. 3
1.4 The earth is the sum of its partsp. 7
1.5 Temperate boreal forestsp. 8
Europe and Asiap. 8
North Americap. 11
1.6 Tropical and sub-tropical forestsp. 12
Asia and Oceaniap. 12
Africap. 15
Latin America and the Caribbeanp. 16
1.7 Importance of forestsp. 18
Biodiversityp. 18
Landscapes and waterp. 18
Climatep. 19
Commercial productsp. 19
Rural livelihoodsp. 19
Energy securityp. 20
Women and childrenp. 20
Cultural and recreational valuep. 20
1.8 Forests and sustainable developmentp. 20
1.9 Politics and policies for a new erap. 23
2 Roots of the crisisp. 29
2.1 Roots are broad and deepp. 30
2.2 Economic forces which lead to forest declinep. 31
Missing marketsp. 31
Divergence between private values and public valuesp. 33
Limitations of government policiesp. 34
Timber concession policies and subsidiesp. 35
Other subsidies affecting forestsp. 39
Agriculturep. 39
Transportp. 39
Energy and miningp. 40
'Reform the best, remove the rest'p. 40
Land ownership and tenurep. 43
2.3 Governance failurep. 44
Land hunger and lack of tenurep. 44
Failure to share benefitsp. 45
Gender inequityp. 45
Displacement of communitiesp. 47
2.4 Ethical failurep. 48
Corrupt practicesp. 48
Inequityp. 49
Cultural discriminationp. 51
3 Private and public interestp. 53
3.1 A web of interestsp. 54
3.2 Forest-dependent communitiesp. 58
Rural communitiesp. 58
Forest dwellersp. 59
Shifting cultivatorsp. 61
3.3 Private woodland ownersp. 65
3.4 Corporations, traders and forest industry workersp. 65
3.5 Consumersp. 69
3.6 Civil Societyp. 69
3.7 The general publicp. 71
3.8 The public interestp. 71
The role of governmentp. 71
The role of civil societyp. 74
3.9 Forestrust Internationalp. 76
Forestwatchp. 77
Forest Ombudsmanp. 77
Forest Management Councilp. 78
Forest Awardp. 78
4 Managing forests sustainablyp. 79
4.1 Beyond forestryp. 80
4.2 Objectives of sustainable forest managementp. 81
4.3 Principles for sustainable forest managementp. 82
Landscape managementp. 82
Ecosystem-based managementp. 82
Participatory decision-makingp. 84
Localised managementp. 84
Maximise agro-forestry potentialp. 86
4.4 Verifying sustainable forest managementp. 89
Criteria and Indicatorsp. 89
Certification of SFMp. 91
4.5 Controversial forestry practicesp. 92
Clearcuttingp. 92
Plantation forestryp. 93
Fire as a management toolp. 96
Protected areasp. 99
4.6 Private sector investment and managementp. 101
4.7 Towards improved information, research and understandingp. 104
5 Sustaining forests and developmentp. 107
5.1 Concept, context and challengep. 108
5.2 Forests in a full worldp. 109
Cropland and foodp. 109
A New Green Revolutionp. 112
Plant biodiversityp. 114
Land husbandryp. 114
Industrial timber and fibrep. 115
Technologyp. 116
Potential of plantationsp. 116
Energyp. 116
Renewablesp. 117
Waterp. 118
Exogenous threats to forestsp. 119
Climate disruptionp. 119
Biotic impoverishmentp. 120
Landscape attritionp. 121
5.3 Consequences of business as usualp. 122
5.4 Planning to sustain forests and developmentp. 123
Landscape planningp. 123
Participatory land-use planningp. 123
Reinforcing measuresp. 124
Educationp. 124
Informationp. 126
5.5 Forest Capitalp. 127
5.6 Forests, the citizen, and securityp. 128
6 International dimensions of forests and sustainable developmentp. 131
6.1 Continuing the search for solutionsp. 132
International prioritiesp. 132
A plea for urgencyp. 133
6.2 Multinational investment in forestsp. 133
6.3 International trade in forest productsp. 136
Market sharingp. 136
WTO and sustainabilityp. 137
Certification of forest productsp. 138
6.4 Global services from forestsp. 139
A Forest Capital Index (FCI)p. 140
6.5 A convention on forests?p. 142
6.6 Political leadershipp. 145
A Forest Security Councilp. 146
7 A future for our forestsp. 151
7.1 Overviewp. 152
7.2 Resolutionsp. 154
7.3 The fate of the forests is in our handsp. 164
1 Glossaryp. 168
2 Referencesp. 176
3 Creditsp. 182
4 Contributorsp. 183
5 Member States of existing multilateral frameworksp. 199
Indexp. 202