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Forestry Management

NRM picsThe forests in the East Asia and Pacific face grave threats. Unsustainable and often illegal logging, forest fires, poor management and poorer planning have created an anarchic forestry sector that has largely emphasized production and extraction over protection. With the notable exception of China, whose forest areas are growing through reforestation, countries in EAP are losing at least 0.6 percent of their forest cover per year, almost 3 times the global rate (World Bank 2004).

In Indonesia, for example, over 1-2 million hectares of forest were lost annually over the last 20 years. High rates of deforestation were exacerbated during 1997 and 1998 when many parts of Indonesia were engulfed by drought and fire. Nearly ten million hectares of land were burned, exposing around 20 million people across Southeast Asia to a shroud of air pollution. While a prolonged dry season caused by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climatic condition contributed to the spread of the fires, they were mainly caused by human activity. In particular, plantation companies and big businesses lit many fires to clear land as cheaply and quickly  as possible. Only one percent of the fires were attributed to natural causes. Economic losses from these fires were estimated at $9 - $10 billion. Moreover, many environmental costs were never included in this estimate, most especially the deaths of a large number of endangered species (e.g. orangutans and proboscis monkeys),and the destruction of the last intact lowland forests in Indonesia.

One cause of declining forest cover regionally is as a result of increased demand from China. China has been a forest-deficit country for over 50 years. Consequently, Chinese per capita consumption of forest products has been among the  world’s smallest and, until recently, was supplied primarily from domestic sources. Over the last 10 years, China’s rapid economic development, increased integration in the world economy (particularly, world wood economy), and, at least arguably, tighter controls on domestic forest exploitation has catapulted the country from being the seventh ranking importer of wood to the second and the top importer of logs. Because of the management vacuum in the forestry sector outside of China, and the consequent pervasiveness of illegal logging in supplying countries, virtually any increase in international trade volumes becomes controversial. Already a net wood importer, China is turning increasingly to international sources of raw material, a process that continues, and one which threatens the integrity of forests through EAP.

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World Bank Initiatives
The Bank's East Asia  and Pacific  forest portfolio covers a wide range of forest activities including investments in collaborative forest management and social forestry, forest institutions capacity building, protected areas, and technical assistance for policy reform and for regulatory and enforcement systems.

In addition to directly financing projects, the Bank is giving increasing attention to linking policy dialogue and its major country-level adjustment interventions to its specific forests involvement, and to resource mobilization from GEF, IFC, and other donor sources. This approach allows the Bank to pursue powerful reform proposals that eliminate unfair concession policies and perverse market incentives such as transport subsidies and underpriced timber, which can rarely be justified on the grounds of efficiency or equity. The Bank also enters into partnerships to complement its strengths and compensate for its weaknesses.

Sustainable Forestry for Rural Development Project in Lao PDR
The Project will assist with the sustainable management of production forests to alleviate rural poverty by implementing forest policy reform actions and policies (including improved governance and reduced illegal activities). The project will also put priority natural production forests under sustainable management and improve village livelihoods in the project area.
  Project Details 

Forest Sector Development Project in Vietnam
The main components are:

  • Institutional Development to assist the government in strengthening the enabling environment for sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation;
  • Smallholder Plantation Forestry covering four provinces to establish forest plantations and promote small-scale tree growing by rural communities based on different cropping systems (including fast-growing plantations, mixed forestry-agriculture crops, and fruit trees); and
  • Special Use Forest to improve the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in priority special use forests and increase the reliability of special use forest funding through the establishment of an innovative financing mechanism.

  Project Details      

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Indonesia Forest and Media Project (INFORM): Creating a Constituency for Conservation   
Indonesia is experiencing massive forest losses; it is estimated that some 18 million hectares of
Indonesia’s forest were lost between 1985-1997, and deforestation has recently been occurring
at a rate of some 2.5 million hectares a year. Forest loss has been most significant in the accessible
lowland forests, which are the most biodiverse, and has even occurred in well-known
protected areas. A major constraint that has continually undermined efforts to stimulated political
action to protect Indonesia’s forests is the lack of popular support for these actions.
The 18 month Indonesia Forest and Media Project (INFORM), was developed by a consortium
of the largest conservation NGOs with Conservation International taking the lead in execution.
The project was designed to address this constraint and enhance the long-term social and
political foundations for forest conservation.

The INFORM project was both foundational and complementary to other activities designed
to address the overall Indonesian forestry crisis (e.g., policy dialogue, programs and projects),
and to address locality-specific interventions. The INFORM campaign worked to create a local
and regional enabling environment in which these other activities were more likely to succeed.
It worked closely with a USAID-financed project executed by GreenCOM, which focused over
the same period on illegal logging. This project will work to impart upon Indonesian stakeholders
an appreciation of:

  • The significance and urgency of forest loss in Indonesia and its
  • How it will affect them personally (e.g., reduced quality of life, diminished option
    and existence values, etc.), and
  • How they can actively participate in a process to stop forest destruction and move toward more equitable and sustainable forest management.

Surveys undertaken early in the project found that the general public was fairly aware of the
existence of forest loss – but they had little idea of its scale and seriousness or its economic
implications. The campaign materials, which included radio talk shows, press briefings, journalist
training, and public service advertisements, therefore focused on informing the public
about these issues. The project was implemented in part during the run-up to the parliamentary
and presidential elections and TV, radio, magazine and newspaper advertisements were
used to try to give forest issues a higher profile.

  Project Details 

Ministerial Processes for Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) 
The World Bank Group's Forest Governance Program, launched in 2000, gives strong emphasis to working in partnership with governments, civil society, the private sector and donor organizations. In May, 1998, the G-8 launched an action program on forests, which gives high priority to eliminating illegal logging and illegal timber trade. The action programme seeks to complement actions undertaken at regional and international levels, and states the G-8's commitment to identifying actions in both producer and consumer countries.

The World Bank's Forest Governance Program and the G-8 program motivated a partnership on forest law enforcement for East Asia between East Asian governments, the World Bank, United Kingdom and United States, which led to the FLEG East Asia Ministerial Conference in September 2001. The East Asia FLEG  are continuing processes with dedicated websites.
  FLEG Website   

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