Proposal for a Sustainable Forestry Management Policy Essay

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Proposal for a Sustainable Forestry Management Policy

Forests are an invaluable natural resource with multiple conflicting uses. When left to stand, forests help conserve biodiversity, stabilize the environment and control erosion; when logged, they provide building materials, fuel and agricultural land for human use. The challenge is to find an equilibrium between these uses: in other words, to make the transition toward sustainable forestry management.

Unfortunately, poverty has driven people in developing countries to clear-cut large tracts of land, while instability and corruption have rendered developing country governments powerless to stop illegal logging and trade in illegal forest products. The results have been
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In 1999, the US government spent over $36.5 million on lumber, making it a small but significant player in the global timber market (4). Changing our procurement practices would provide assurance to sustainable timber providers that there will be a market for their goods and would penalize ecologically irresponsible competitors. Because not enough wood is currently produced under sustainable certification programs to meet government needs, the US should establish sustainable management as a preference, but not a requirement until 2010, when it should begin to purchase only certified wood. The US should appoint a panel of environmentalists, industry executives and academic experts to determine which certification systems to accept. Possible examples include Forest Stewardship Council certification (5); ISO 14001-series environmental management systems (6); and Smartwood certification (7).

SECOND, the US government should help developing countries comply with these standards by establishing a technical assistance fund of $1 million per year to publicize certification criteria and share technical expertise. The fund will be provided in the form of tenders that private organizations and governmental bodies may apply toward educational programs for the forest product sector.

THIRD, the US government should establish and promote a certification program in partnership with the private sector to increase demand for

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