Ministers attending the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC adopted the 'Ministerial Katowice Declaration on Forests for Climate', which highlights the significant role of sustainable forest management in achieving climate change commitments in the Paris Agreement.
WWF-Vietnam and the Center for People and Forests have launched a joint project under the “Responsible Asia Forestry & Trade” (RAFT) Partnership on sustainable forest management, focusing on classifying and identifying timber for international trade. Viet Nam is also at the final stage of signing a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU.
In November 2016 WWF Indonesia suspended its membership of APRIL's Stakeholder Advisory Committee because of a lack of progress implementing their sustainable forest management plan, failing to abide by government policy on peatland protection, and a lack of transparency on business operations.
WWF have called on APRIL to have independent, third party verification on their progress with the forest management plan, as well as filling policy gaps to address deforestation in High Conservation Value forest and High Carbon Stock forest, as well as social issues and peat development.
A group of scientists questioned whether sustainable forest management (SFM) is an effective way as commonly believed to protect tropical forests and the habitat and carbon reserves. They published a study in the journal Land Use Policy arguing that SFM may not actually lead to less deforestation based on the their analysis of timber concessions in the Central African nation of the Republic of Congo. According to their research, timber concessions operating under forest management plans (FMPs) showed higher rates of deforestation than concessions without them. The research was criticized by some scientists as overly simplistic. One of the authors was hesitant to extend the findings beyond the borders of the Republic of Congo.
Indonesia has long been accused of not managing forests in a sustainable manner and of failing to curb illegal logging and trade in regard to the export of forest-sourced products. The demand to implement sustainable forest management policies is getting stronger. The voluntary PEFC/IFCC (the Indonesia Forest Certification Co-Operation) certification has been seen as a “passport” for the companies to allow their products to entre countries that set sustainable forest management preconditions. Forestry companies’ policies need to be tested on the ground.
It’s been a year since Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL) released its latest ‘Sustainable Forest Management Plan’. APRIL claims to have an ‘ongoing commitment to conservation and a sustainable approach to landscape development.’ But it plans to continue clearing forests until 2020. It also refuses to stop draining peatlands - even though doing so wrecks the climate, and leads to forest fires and floods. Over the past year, Greenpeace researchers have been monitoring APRIL’s operations on Padang Island, off the coast of Sumatra. The photos they took show what APRIL’s real objective is to clear as much of Indonesia's rainforest as it can get away with before it is forced to stop.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has published a report, Wood for Good: Solutions for Deforestation-Free Wood Products, analyzing tropical wood production’s effect on deforestation and offering solutions for sustainable production. The report identifies a threefold solution to meet the global demand for sustainable tropical wood: 1) turn to responsible plantation forests; 2) governments to develop policies that make sustainable forest management an attractive business prospect; and 3) all stakeholders should demand products certified by FSC or PEFC.
Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) Charts a Course to World-Class Industry Standards in Sustainable Business
Press release from APP promoting its Sustainability Roadmap for 2020. Key milestones will include having the capacity to be wholly reliant on raw materials from plantations by 2015; all current APP suppliers operating by the High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) standards by 2015; and all current suppliers having credible certification for Sustainable Forest Management by 2020.