Complete text of Forest Principles
Statement of Principles on Forests
By the time of the June 1992 Earth Summit, countries had developed a series of principles for sustainable forest use. This, the first global consensus on forests, deals with the needs of people who want to protect forests for environmental and cultural reasons and with the needs of people who use trees and other forest life for economic development. The Rio forest principles may form the basis of further negotiations toward a binding agreement.
The Rio statement says that forests, with their complex ecological processes, are essential to economic development and the maintenance of all forms of life. They are the source of wood, food and medicine, and are rich storehouses of many biological products yet to be discovered. They act as reservoirs for water and for carbon, that would otherwise get into the atmosphere and act as a greenhouse gas. Forests are home to many species of wildlife and, with their peaceful greenery and sense of history, fulfill human cultural and spiritual needs.
Among the forestry principles:
- All countries should take part in "the greening of the world" through forest planting and conservation.
- Countries have the right to use forests for their social and economic development needs. Such use should be based on national policies consistent with sustainable development.
- The sustainable use of forests will require sustainable patterns of production and consumption at a global level.
- Forests should be managed to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of present and future generations.
- The profits from biotechnology products and genetic materials taken from forests should be shared, on mutually agreed terms, with countries where the forests are located.
- Planted forests are environmentally sound sources of renewable energy and industrial raw materials. The use of wood for fuel is particularly important in developing countries. Such needs should be met through sustainable use of forests and replanting. The plantations will provide employment and reduce the pressure to cut old-growth forests.
- National plans should protect unique examples of forests, including old forests and forests with cultural, spiritual, historical, religious and other values.
- International financial support, including some from the private sector, should be provided to developing nations to help protect their forests
- Countries need sustainable forestry plans based on environmentally sound guidelines. This includes managing the areas around forests in an ecologically sound manner.
- Forestry plans should count both the economic and non-economic values of forests, and the environmental costs and benefits of harvesting or protecting forests. Policies that encourage forest degradation should be avoided.
- The planning and implementation of national forest policies should involve a wide variety of people, including women, forest dwellers, indigenous people, industries, workers and non-government organizations.
- Forest policies should support the identity, culture and rights of indigenous people and forest dwellers. Their knowledge of conservation and sustainable forest use should be respected and used in developing forestry programs. They should be offered forms of economic activity and land tenure that encourage sustainable forest use and provide them with an adequate livelihood and level of well-being.
- Trade in forest products should be based on non-discriminatory, rules, agreed on by nations. Unilateral measures should not be used to restrict or ban international trade in timber and other forest products.
- Trade measures should encourage local processing and higher prices for processed products. Tariffs and other barriers to markets for such goods should be reduced or removed.
- There should be controls on pollutants, such as acidic fallout, that harm forests.
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