Save Our Earth : Campaigning to save the Tropical Rainforests

Save Our Earth - Twitter
Save Our Earth - Facebook
Save Our Earth - Add RSS Feed

Environmental, Campaign & Website News > Logging Off: Ending Industrial Logging of Primary & Old-Growth Forests

Logging Off: Ending Industrial Logging of Primary & Old-Growth Forests

Date : 29th Nov 2001, Source :

Logging Off: Ending Industrial Logging of Primary & Old-Growth Forests
Forest Networking a Project of, Inc. -- Forest Conservation Portal -- Discuss Forest Conservation


Commercial logging of high conservation value forests must end. If current trends continue most of the World's remaining closed canopy forests -- forests sufficiently large and intact to retain most or all of their species and ecological processes -- will be gone by mid- century. Failure to end the era of large-scale industrial forestry in the World's remaining primary and old growth forests will result in cataclysmic species loss, ecosystem collapse and social upheaval.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and Smithsonian Institution's Center for Tropical Forest Sciences have launched a timely new report entitled "Logging Off: Mechanisms to Stop or Prevent Industrial Logging in Forests of High Conservation Value". Fifteen different mechanisms are discussed to reduce or eliminate industrial logging in high conservation value forests. Case studies presented include purchasing timber concessions for protection, cracking down on illegal logging, international timber boycotts and import bans. The report can be found at: Coverage of the report and further recent news on this topic is below.

Establishment environmental groups are making a huge effort to reform commercial forestry - sanctioning the "certification" of the environmental sensitivity of large-scale commercial logging of intact primary and old growth forests. It is too late. Half of the Earth's original forest cover has been completely lost due to deforestation and only one-fifth of the world's original forests still remain in large, natural and relatively undisturbed blocks. There is no such thing as environmentally sustainable commercial forestry in ancient primary forests. To say otherwise is scientifically without merit and duplicitous.

Global ecological sustainability depends upon strictly protecting most of the World's remaining large and intact primary and old growth forests, commencing the age of forest restoration, and learning to meet our needs for forest products in other ways. These include certified community-based eco-forestry activities in ancient forests, certified mixed species plantations on degraded lands, certified secondary forest management and use of alternative fibers.

Global forest sustainability depends upon forest conservationists protecting and restoring forests, not spending their time as commercial logging apologists. Further efforts to reform rather than end industrial logging of ancient primary and old-growth forests is futile and dangerous. The default assumption for such forests that do not have protected status is that they will be commercially logged. This is wrong. For most forests that are not yet protected, the focus needs to be upon stopping or preventing first time large-scale logging. The era when industrial harvest of mature, wild and natural forests was acceptable is over.


Title: Logging Off: Mechanisms to Stop or Prevent Industrial Logging in Forests of High Conservation Value
Source: Smithsonian Institution's Center for Tropical Forest Sciences
Date: November 19, 2001

UCS and the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Tropical Forest Sciences (CTFS) are pleased to announce the release of a new report, "Logging Off: Mechanisms to Stop or Prevent Industrial Logging in Forests of High Conservation Value."

You can download a pdf copy of "Logging Off" at ( ) , or you may order a hardcopy from the Union of Concerned Scientists at ( ). Please feel free to circulate this notice to colleagues.

** About the Report

Under current trajectories, most of the world's remaining closed canopy forests-forests sufficiently large and intact to retain most or all of their species and ecological processes-will be gone by mid- century. Moreover, the pressures that the world's forests face now will likely increase with the expanding human population (projected to rise from 6.1 billion now to about 10 billion by 2050) and growing demands for arable land and wood products.

Yet possibilities do exist to slow and ultimately reverse these trends. One is to focus conservation activities on forests threatened by industrial logging, both legal and illegal. A large proportion of the world's remaining forests fall into this category-far more than are currently protected-and many of these have not yet been highly degraded. These production forests constitute a tremendous but fleeting conservation opportunity. Conserving them while meeting the world's demands for wood products will require three concurrent actions: greatly reducing or eliminating industrial logging operations within forests that have the greatest value for biodiversity conservation; strengthening the sustainability of forestry operations in regions of relatively lower conservation value; and expanding wood supplies from well-managed plantations.

UCS joined with CTFS to produce "Logging Off: Mechanisms to Stop or Prevent Industrial Logging in Forests of High Conservation Value," which provides guidance on how to tackle the first of these objectives. Authored by Ted Gullison, Mary Melnyk, and Carmen Wong, this report offers the first broad assessment of the potential tools available for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) governments, and other stakeholders to reduce or eliminate industrial logging in high conservation value forests. Reviewing a series of case studies of different approaches that have already been applied in tropical and temperate forests, the authors identify 15 different mechanisms through which logging could be stopped or prevented. These range from purchasing timber concessions for protection and cracking down on illegal logging to international timber boycotts and import bans. Several mechanisms have been successfully implemented, and some, such as conservation easements, have been applied in a number of countries for decades.

As Gullison and coauthors elaborate, these mechanisms face some common challenges to their successful application. One is to decide which production forest areas should be the focus of efforts to eliminate logging. At a broad geographic scale, the "biodiversity hotspots," "frontier forests," "critical ecoregions," and other recent priority- setting exercises provide valuable (and despite their varying methodologies, largely overlapping) guides for selecting forests with the highest conservation value. Within them, the authors suggest that finer-scale biodiversity assessments and effective land-use planning with key stakeholders can further specify priority locations where logging operations should be halted.

Clearly, substantial political will and increased financial investments will be essential to broadly implement this approach to forest conservation. Conservation scientists and institutions can help strengthen the former by providing policymakers with clearer consensus assessments of geographic priorities for biodiversity conservation. The latter would benefit from new funding sources, for example, through establishing a market value for associated reductions in carbon emissions.

** Visibility and Distribution Plans.

Released only a few weeks ago, "Logging Off" is already gaining substantial attention. Co-author Mary Melnyk and Peter Frumhoff, Director and Senior Scientist of UCS's Global Environment Program, gave a well-received presentation on the report at the Convention on Biodiversity's SBSTTA-7 meeting in Montreal on November 14th. The report and presentation attracted the attention of many of the SBSTTA- 7 delegates, and was also reported in the Canadian press, including the Montreal Gazette and the Vancouver Sun.

Drs Melnyk and Frumhoff will also present the report's findings to forest policy specialists at the World Bank in early December.

We're distributing notice of the report to a broad range of stakeholders. By the end of October, more than 1700 copies had been downloaded from the web, and several hundred copies have been mailed. Our outreach is focused on forest policymakers, conservation scientists, donor agencies, NGOs, and responsible industry representatives -- all key constituencies who can draw upon the toolkit of mechanisms for reducing or preventing industrial logging in high conservation value forests which "Logging Off" provides. Seizing the opportunities to apply these mechanisms will help alter current trajectories of forest and biodiversity decline and allow a more optimistic appraisal of the future of the world's forests.

** Additional Background information:

Ted Gullison holds a Ph.D. in Tropical Forest Ecology from Princeton University. He co-founded the Palo Alto-based environmental consulting company, Hardner & Gullison Associates.

Mary Melnyk has a Ph.D. in Ecological Management from Imperial College (London). A former AAAS fellow, Mary works with the USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service and is placed in USAID's Asia and the Near East Bureau as its Senior Advisor for Natural Resources Management.

Carmen Wong is a research analyst with Hardner & Gullison Associates. She holds a Masters in Resource Management from Simon Fraser University (British Columbia).

The Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS) of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute is a global consortium of researchers and research institutions dedicated to the long-term study of tropical forest diversity, dynamics, management, and conservation. CTFS oversees a network of 16 standardized, large-scale forest plots, and is currently monitoring over 3 million trees of 6000 species -- or more than 10% of all known tropical tree species.

Source: Greenpeace
Date: November 18, 2001

Only partial progress made on protection of primary forests and forest species 18 November 2001 Montreal - The five day meeting of scientific advisors to the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) came to a close late Friday with limited progress made on approving a plan to protect the health of the world's forests and forest biodiversity.

At the meeting in Montreal the 180 signatories to the CBD began to set firm targets and timelines for forests protection, and initiated discussions about the need to prioritise work on the most threatened regions of biodiversity, including the world's remaining primary or ancient forests.

Final documents from the meeting recognized the "critical value of primary forests for the conservation of biodiversity" and acknowledged that currently "there is an alarming rate of loss of such forests."

"This is the first time a meeting of international delegates has formally recognised that protecting the world's remaining ancient forests must become an international priority," said Gudrun Henne, Greenpeace political advisor.

"That's clearly a step in the right direction, but it's an incredible disappointment that the delegates couldn't decide on more concrete targets and timelines to actually protect those forests at risk. Without action, these words could be meaningless."

Part of the reason the CBD signatories failed to make progress on developing a plan to protect the biodiversity found in forests was the late start to discussions of any substance. Only on day three of the meeting were delegates able to focus on discussing targets and timelines for forests protection.

However, this was exacerbated by the clear lack of vision and leadership exhibited by many of the national delegations. With next year being the tenth anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit, and the birth of the Convention on Biological Diversity, setting clear targets and timelines are of particular importance for the CBD's next full meeting in the Hague in April 2002.

"If we continue to make progress at this glacial pace, we can virtually write off a large percentage of the ancient forests that remain on the planet," said Christoph Thies. "Between now and the April meeting, the world will lose over seven million hectares of forest and much of that will be in ancient forests.

Species such as the orangutan and tiger can not afford to wait while the world's governments decide whether to act."

Approximately 80 percent of original global forests have already been destroyed.

At the April meeting in the Hague, Greenpeace is advocating that world governments take immediate steps to halt forest destruction by: placing a moratoria on logging and other industrial activities in all large areas of ancient forests until appropriate protected area systems have been established; adopting measures to ensure that timber is produced and traded in an ecologically, socially, and legally responsible way; and creating a global ancient forest fund of $15 billion annually to fund these measures.

Gudrun Henne, Greenpeace International Political Advisor: +1 514 297

Title: Concrete Actions to Preserve World's Forest Ecosystems Should Be Accelerated
Source: Copyright 2001 EarthVision Environmental News
Date: November 9, 2001

MONTREAL, November 9, 2001 - Experts from the 182 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity are meeting in Montreal from November 12 to 16 to assess the threats facing the world's forests and to identify practical solutions.

"Despite their importance, forests across many parts of the globe and in particular in developing countries continue to be felled and cleared at an alarming rate. It is my sincere hope that humankind can tackle the root causes of this, which, in many countries, lie in poverty and the desperate circumstances that billions of people across the globe find themselves in, " said Klaus T"pfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program.

"Natural forests harbor the greatest variety of animal, microbial and plant species of any terrestrial ecosystem. They provide us with a vast array of goods and services. They are the cornerstone of sustainable development," said Hamdallah Zedan, the Convention's Executive Secretary. "Conserving and sustainably using these invaluable ecosystems is a major goal of the Convention's work program. Research is still needed, but it is now time to accelerate concrete action to preserve the world's forests."

The role of the seventh meeting of the Convention's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) is to provide expert advice to the ministers and diplomats attending the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, which takes place in The Hague from April 8 to 26 next year.

Drawing on the work of an Ad-Hoc Technical Expert Group on Forest Biological Diversity set up by the Conference of the Parties in May 2000, the SBSTTA will consider the current status of forest biodiversity and major trends and threats. It will identify practical solutions that could be implemented locally, nationally, or globally. The SBSTTA will address in particular the need to widen the focus of the Convention's current forests work program from research to practical action.

The Montreal meeting will also discuss three specific threats to forest biological diversity: climate change, human-induced uncontrolled forest fires, and the impact of unsustainable harvesting of non-timber forest resources, including in particular bushmeat and living biological resources. Delegates will try to identify how to manage and reduce these threats.

Other biodiversity issues, such as the loss of pollinators in agricultural lands, plant conservation strategy, including possible time-bound quantifiable targets for meeting the objectives of the Convention with regard to plant conservation, incentive measures, impact assessment, will also be addressed by the meeting.

The meeting will be held at the ICAO building in Montreal (999, University Street). For more information please contact Cristina Stricker, Information Officer, tel. during the conference only (November 12-16): +1-514-868-1581, permanent tel.: +1-514-287-7031, fax: +1-514-288-6588, e-mail:

Meeting documents and other information are available at and


Forest biodiversity in danger
Why are forests important?

Forests provide a wide range of goods and services, including timber, fuel-wood, food, medicine, soil and watershed protection, and climate stabilization. Preserving forests is therefore crucial for human well- being. Forests also play a vital role in culture and religion and inspire artists and thinkers around the world. At the same time, forests contain a major share of global biodiversity: at least half of the world's terrestrial species live in tropical primary forests.

How much forest is left?

From 50% some 8,000 years ago, forests now occupy about 27% of the Earth's ice-free surface. Primary forests comprise less than half the remaining forest, with the rest being secondary, degraded or plantation forests. The main causes of destruction are the housing and infrastructure development, desertification and land degradation, and hundreds of years of large-scale conversion to agriculture and rangelands.

According to data from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 3,869 million hectares of global forest remained in 2000. Forest area has declined by around 9.4 million hectares per year since 1990, an annual rate of 0.22 %. Most of the decline takes place in natural forests in the tropics. Preliminary estimates show that net deforestation rates have increased somewhat recently in tropical Africa, remained constant in Central America, and declined slightly in tropical Asia and South America. Although the establishment of plantation forests and reforestation activities in temperate and boreal forests and tropical areas is increasing, these plantations cannot fully compensate for deforestation of primary forest in terms of biological diversity.

Between 1980 and 1990, the annual rate of deforestation for developing countries is estimated at 15.5 million hectares per year. As a result, more than 200 million hectares of forest have been lost in the past 15 years. According to IUCN, this is equal to twice the size of South Africa, four times the territory of Spain, or seven times that of Malaysia.

What are the major threats?

Direct causes of deforestation and forest degradation include improper and wasteful forest management and logging practices, changing land- use patterns, over-exploitation, invasive alien species, and pollution. In the near future, climate change will also be added to this list.

Indirect, or underlying, causes include the lack of political power of local and indigenous communities, bad governance and the mistaken belief that forests and their resources are infinite. The constantly increasing global demand for wood, fuel, paper, and other forest products is also to blame. In the longer term, a lack of awareness about the multiple environmental and economic values of forests may loom as the largest threat.

What can be done?

An effective forest conservation strategy requires that an ecologically viable acreage of all forest ecosystem types be preserved through a network of protected areas. More forest restoration programs need to be developed. At the same time, sustainable management practices need to be implemented on the basis of the ecosystem approach. These should include new forest-related national regulations, strategies and plans.

Decision-making on forest management should involve indigenous peoples and local communities in order to ensure that their legitimate needs are taken into consideration. This approach will also ensure that local expertise is tapped and that forest management becomes more effective and sustainable.

Education and public awareness also need to be strengthened, for example via campaigns promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns. In particular, people need to be informed about the wide range of forest services and products.

The role of the Convention

The Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit in June 1992. It is the first global agreement to cover all aspects of biological diversity -- genetic resources, species and ecosystems - and the first to recognize that the conservation of biological diversity is "a common concern of humankind" and an integral part of efforts to achieve sustainable development. The Convention fosters scientific and technical cooperation and the equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources, and the widespread use of environmentally sound technologies.

The Convention's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) advises the Conference of the Parties - the Convention's top decision-making body. It also promotes international cooperation on biodiversity science, technical matters, and technology. It addresses a broad range of issues, including the natural and social sciences, data management, modern information technology, models, scientific assessments, the development of biodiversity indicators, and monitoring. In this way, the SBSTTA provides an agreed factual basis so that policymakers can take informed political decisions about the cross-cutting issues and thematic areas addressed under the Convention.

The Convention addresses forests directly through its work program on forest biological diversity. This program emphasizes the ecosystem approach, socio-economic considerations, conservation and sustainable use. It promotes scientific analyses of how human activities and forest practices influence biodiversity and how to minimize the resulting damages. The work program is currently being strengthened and expanded.

The forest work program is implemented together with partners such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) the Global Environment Facility (GEF) the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Key definitions

Primary forests are forests that have never been directly disturbed by humans. Whatever their age, they have developed following a natural disturbance and according to natural processes. Forests that are used by indigenous and local communities with traditional lifestyles consistent with the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity are included in this category.

Secondary forests have been directly disturbed by humans but have recovered, whether naturally or artificially. They do not necessary provide the same level of products and services as a primary forest would in the same location.

Old growth forests can be primary or secondary forests. They have reached an age at which the structures and species normally associated with old primary forests of that type have accumulated sufficiently to create a forest ecosystem distinct from any younger age class.

Planted forests or forest plantations are forest stands established by planting or seeding in the process of afforestation or reforestation. They are either of introduced species (all planted stands) or intensively managed stands of indigenous species.

Tropical forests are located near the equator. They have the greatest diversity of species (many still undiscovered) and are the most vulnerable land-based ecosystem in the world. They have only two seasons - rainy and dry - and receive about 12 hours of daylight year round.

Temperate forests are characteristic of North America, north-eastern Asia, and western and central Europe. They thrive in moderate climates with well-defined seasons and a growing season of 140 to 200 days during four to six frost-free months.

Boreal forests are the most widespread forest type of all. They inhabit the regions between 50 and 60 degrees north latitudes - Eurasia, North America, Siberia, Scandinavia, Alaska, and Canada. Seasons are divided into short, moist, and moderately warm summers and long, cold, and dry winters. The growing season is some 130 days.

Where to find more information on forests

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
United Nations Environment Program
393 St. Jacques St., Suite 300
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1N9
Tel. (+1-514) 288-2220
Fax: (+1-514) 288-6588

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
Forestry Department
I-00100 Rome, Italy
Tel: (+39-06) 570-54047
Fax: (+39-06) 570-52151

UN Forum on Forests (UNFF)
2, UN Plaza, 22th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel.: +1-212-963-3401/9875
Fax: +1-212-963-4260

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
P.O. BOX 6596, JKPWB
Jakarta 10065, Indonesia
Tel: (+62-251) 622-622
Fax: (+62-251) 622-100


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving forest conservation informational materials for educational, personal and non-commercial use only. Recipients should seek permission from the source to reprint this PHOTOCOPY. All efforts are made to provide accurate, timely pieces, though ultimate responsibility for verifying all information rests with the reader. For additional forest conservation news & information please see the Forest Conservation Portal at URL= Networked by, Inc.,

Pat Rasmussen
Leavenworth Audubon Adopt-a-Forest
PO Box 154
Peshastin, WA 98847
Phone: 509-548-7640

Document last updated on Wednesday 01 August 2018

Copyright Save Our Earth © 2001-2019
Copyright of articles, information and news remains that of the owner, and permission must be obtained.