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Biodiversity conservation in Southeast Asian timber concessions: a critical evaluation of policy mechanisms and guidelines.

04 / 07 / 2008, Eldis Biodiversity

This paper assesses the tools and guidelines that have been developed to promote sustainable forest management (SFM) and the progress that has been made in Southeast Asia toward better logging practices. It specifically focuses on practices relevant to biodiversity issues. It is argued that tropical deforestation is leading to a loss of economically productive timber concessions and areas with important environmental or socio-cultural values. To counteract this threat in Southeast Asia, SFM practices are becoming increasingly important. Various regional and national mechanisms now inform governments and the timber industry about methods to reduce the impact of production forestry on wildlife and the forest environment. However, so many guidelines have been produced that it has become difficult to judge which ones are most relevant. Key concluding points include:

despite several decades of attempts to improve forest management in Southeast Asia, the implementation of SFM in a significant part of the region’s production forests still has a long way to go
to reduce further forest loss, there is a need to accelerate the implementation of good forest management practices
the timber industry needs to recognise that taking on a role as wildlife manager in forest concessions might not require a major change in operations and might not be as onerous as initially perceived. Adhering to SFM guidelines should further improve the conditions for forest wildlife
despite continued deforestation in the region, the rate of forest loss will be reduced. SFM will have to play a major role in the remaining forests to ensure that they provide economic revenues from timber, in addition to other environmental services.

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