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Comparative analysis of indicators for sustainable forest management and its implication for of new evaluation indicators

ACRS 1998

Forest/Resources

Comparative analysis of indicators for sustainable forest management and its implication for of new evaluation indicators

Yumiko Wada and Ryosuke Shibasaki
Center for Spatial Information Science, University of Tokyo
7-22-1, Roppongi, Minato-Ku Tokyo 106-8558, Japan
Tel: (81)-3-3402-6231 Fax: (81)-3-3408-82628
E-mail : [email protected]

Abstract
The existing criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management developed by The Montreal Process, The Helsinki Process and so forth were compared. The comparative analysis revealed that the current available information on forest condition and its uses can not be used to judge spatially whether the forest use is sustainable or not. This implies an importance of spatial approach which integrate forest dynamic models and remote sensing data with GIS. The authors propose an additional indicators based on this approach to the criteria and indicators.

Introduction
Recently, the deforestation and resulting degradation has become a big issue in understanding Green House Gas (GHG) effect of the whole earth. It is important to arrive at a common methodology to evaluate the sustainable forest use and its management. Therefore, series of efforts for setting up a list of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management were made in The Montreal Process and The Hesinki Process and so forth. But there is no such indicator which can be used to judge whether the current forest use is sustainable or not and how much amount of or where timber production are possible under sustainable forest management practices. Also the indicator of sustainability fail to reflect the spatial variety, because they are defined using existing statistical data aggregate over regions. On the other hand, the development of the models- dynamic models of the forest ecosystem are becoming available to represent material flow and the accumulation as a process. Forest dynamic models enables to provide detailed spatial information which can not be obtained directly from forest statistics data.

It is our final goal to developing a sustainability evaluation system of forest use and management by integrating the models and remote sensing data with GIS. As a first stage, seven existing sustainability evaluation indicators were compared and their issue and limitations were clarified. Based on the analysis, new indicators are proposed and added to the existing ones.

Existing Indicators
The outline of the existing indicators are listed in table 1. as it can be seen from the table, the various processes/proposals are focused on forest in the different parts of the world. But, the basis of most of the features of these processes are derived from a common process. Before the UNCED conference, ITTO was the only existing process developing a set of indicators as a strategic guideline to address the issue of decrease in tropical forest areas. On the other hand, the indicators of other processes were developed by referring t The Montreal Process and The Helsinki Process.


Name Member nations Target Forest Contents
The Montreal Process (1995) Temperate and boreal forest countries except for Europe (United States, Canada, Russia, Japan and so on. 12 countries) Temperate and boreal forest except for Europe Criteria and indicators for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forest.
The Helsinki Process (1995) European Countries European Forest European criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management
The Tarapoto Proposal(1995) Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suranime and Venezuela signed the Amazonian Cooperation Treaty Amazonian Forest Criteria and indicators for the sustainability of the Amazonian Forest
The Dry Zone Africa Process (1995) Dry Zone African Countries Forests resources in western, eastern and southern dry zone Africa Criteria and indicators for the sustainability of the forest in the Dry zone Africa.
The Central American Process (1996) Central American Countries Central American Forest Criteria and indicators proposed for sustainability in forest of Central America
The Near East Process (1996) Near East Countries Near East Forest Criteria and indicators proposed for sustainability in forest of Near East Asia.
ITTO Process (1991) A tropical timber production country and consumption country Tropical forest Criteria for the Measurment of Sustainable Tropical Forest Management.

Table 1. Outline of existing indicators

ACRS 1998

Forest/Resources

Comparative analysis of indicators for sustainable forest management and its implication for of new evaluation indicators

Comparative analysis of existing indicators
The criteria and indicators shown in the above section were compared and the indicators re-organized and classified into the following three categories.

1) The indicators on the physical and ecological status of the forest – material stock and flow.

2) The indicators on the human impact and interactions to the forest the indicators about human benefit and the damage.

3) The indicators on legal and information framework for the forest conservation and use indicators on a framework regulating a guiding human activities concerned with the forest use and management.

The re-organized set of indicators, based on the above criteria are listed in Table 2.

Category Subcategory Indicators
The indicators on the physical and ecological status of the forest. Forest type and distribution Extent of area by forest type relative to total forest area
Extent of area by forest type in protected/conservation zone
Fragmentation of forest type
Material circulation and accumulation Total forest ecosystem biomass and carbon pool
Contribution of forest ecosystems to the total carbon budget, including absorption and release of carbon (standing biomass, coarse woody debris, peat and soil carbon)
Contribution of forest products to the global carbon budget.

Table 2-1. Existing indicators – example of the indicators on the physical and ecological status of the forest.


Category Subcategory Indicators
The indicator on the human impact and interaction to the forest the indicators about human benefit and the damage Impact of the natural disaster and the man-made disaster Area and percent of forest affected by processes or agents beyond the range of historic variation, e.g. by insects, disease, competition from exotic species, fire, storm, land clearance, permanent flooding, salinization, and domestic animals.
Area and percent of forest land with significant soil erosion
The forest managed to protect human life Area and percent of forest land managed primarily for protective function e.g. watersheds, flood protection, avalanche protection, riparian zones
Area and percent of forest land managed for river basin protection.
The forest managed for human benefit Area and percent of forest land managed for general recreation and tourism, in relation to the total area of forestland.
Area and percent of forestland managed in relation to the total area of forestland to protect the range of cultural, social and needs and values.
Values of investment, including investment in forest growing, forest health and management, planted forests, wood processing, recreation and tourism.
The amount of allowable timber production Values and quantities of production of nonwood forest products
Supply and consumption of wood and wood products, including consumption per capita
Value of wood and nonwood products production as percentage of GDP
Supply and consumption/use of nonwood products
Area of forest land and area of forest land available for timber production.
Total growing stocks of both merchantable and non-merchantable tree species on forestland available for timber production.
Annual removal of wood products
Employment in forestry Direct and indirect employment in forest sector and the forest sector employment as a proportion of total employment.

Table 2-2. Existing indicators – example of the indictors on the human impact and interactions to the forest the indicators about human benefit and the damage

Category Subcategory Indicators
The indicators on legal and information framework for the forest conservation and use Evaluation of forest plan Undertake and implement periodic forest related planning, assessments, and policy review.
Enforce law, regulations and guidelines
Availability and extent of up to data, statistics and other information.
Scope, frequently and statistical reliability of forest inventories, assessments, monitoring and other relevant information.
Compatibility with other countries in measuring, monitoring and reporting on indicators.
Development of scientific understanding of forest ecosystem characteristics and functions.
Enhancement of ability to predict impacts on human intervention on forest.
Ability to predict impact on forest of possible climate change.
Human resource Develop and maintain human resource skills

Table 2-3. Existing indicators – example of the indicators on legal and information framework for the forest conservation and use

ACRS 1998

Forest/Resources

Comparative analysis of indicators for sustainable forest management and its implication for of new evaluation indicators

The problems with the existing indicators

As a result of the comparison of the indicators, the characteristics and common issues of each indicators are made clear, as summarized below.

  • Sustainability is evaluated mainly by temporal changes of each forest type area because information is available as the numerical value of the forest area and the fragmentation of each forest type.
  • The contribution level of the forest to the whole carbon stock on land can be known with the existing indicators, but it is not be grasped whether forest is carbon source or sink.
  • The damage area cannot be grasped because it there is no information on the spatial distribution of impacts of human use and natural disaster on forest.
  • Possible changes of the forest condition cannot be envisaged, if current timber use continues.
  • It is difficult to do the evaluation of the sustainability because there are insufficient indicators to judge the spatially extent.

Whole structure of forest evaluation system
We propose an architecture of evaluation system based on the following three ideas to overcome the issue listed in the above section.

1) To make a forest inventory that takes into account the spatial distribution using remote sensing and GIS. Then indicators can be calculated in each land grid and thus we have a clear information on the current forest condition spatially.

2) Existing statistical information is insufficient in understanding the spatial extent/location of the change in forest. Spatial or grid-based model of forest such as forest stock and flow can be used to compliment or interpolate the existing statistical data. Then current forest condition and its change can be estimated. Using the model, calculation of the indicators can be made possible by combining Remote sensing data and forest statistical data.

3) Impact of forest use and conservation measures can be evaluated by making simulation of the change in forest stock with the model which further helps in understanding what kind of influence and effect they have, from the point of the sustainability of the forest resources. Based on those simulation, the precursor indicators of the forest sustainability can be developed.

The proposal of the sustainability evaluation indicator
Before proposing a sustainability evaluation indicator system based on the above idea an additional indicators are proposed (table 3) based on the information which could be obtained directly from the forest ecosystem model and remote sensing. These indicators are not proposed to replace existing indicators, but will be added to the list indicators. Table 3 shows a part of the proposed indicators.

Conclusions
Sustainable forest management is getting more importance and there is a need to have a common set of criteria and indicators based on which the sustainability can be evaluated. But there is no enough indicators which can be used to judge whether the current forest use is sustainable or not and how much or where amounts of timber production are possible under sustainable forest management practices. In this research, seven existing indicators of sustainability evaluation was compared, and its issue were made clear. This is a first step to develop a method of sustainable evaluation of forest use and management by the combination of a forest process model and remote sensing data. Then, we proposed some new indicators based on the use of model.

The possibility of the use of data obtained from the forest ecosystem model and remote sensing data will be further examined, in relation to the proposed indicator system for evaluating the sustainable forest use and management, with a view to arrive at a comprehensive list of indicators.

Reference

  • The Montreal Process of 1995. In proceeding of the XI world forestry congress, Turkey, 1997, Vol. 6, 19-50.
    [
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  • The Helsinki Process of 1995. . In proceeding of the XI world forestry congress, Turkey, 1997, Vol. 6, 51-70.
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  • The Tarapoto Proposal of 1995, In proceeding of the XI world forestry congress,
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  • The Central American Process of Lepaterique, In proceeding of the XI world forestry
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  • The Dry Zone Africa Process, In proceeding of the XI world forestry congress, Turkey,
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  • Kokusai Ringyo Kyoryoku Kenkyu-kai, 1996, Steps toward sustainable forest management (Japanese), 454pp.