Current issue: 56(4)
Under compilation: 57(1)
This is a discussion paper on certain trends in forestry, and society as a whole which may constitute a major challenge for forest policy analysis in the future. Developed and developing countries are treated separately. In developed countries, one of the problems requiring policy analysis is the rising opportunity cost of forestry and the consequent weakening interest in commercial forestry among nonindustrial private forest owners. In developing countries, the most acute problem is the depletion of forests. While looking at the relative merits of the remedial means actually applied or suggested, major guidelines are needed for a proper balance between commercial timber production and forestry for rural development. Evaluation of past forestry projects is also desirable.
The area of world forests is gradually declining because of various human activities, such as shifting cultivation, uncontrolled logging and industrial pollution. Continuation of the trends would have detrimental ecological, economic and social effects on global scale. The diversity of the problem is wide. The situation in the tropical developing countries differs from that in the industrialized world. With the present rates of population growth and unchanged forest policies, the fuelwood shortage in developing countries is rapidly aggravating. The need for more agricultural land tends to prejudice conscious efforts to increase wood production.
The industrialized countries are experiencing problems in introducing forest policy means to maintain sufficient timber supply. Rapidly increasing pollution problem cause a serious hazard to the existence of the whole forest ecosystem. Forestry has primarily been a national issue of relatively low priority in political decision-making, which has resulted in insufficient action to remedy the situation at national and international level.
The renewability of forest resources represents a strategic asset, the importance of which is bound to increase in the long-run potential for badly needed economic and social change in the world’s poor rural areas will be lost.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.