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( Article Type: Explanation )

Forestry can be split into two different types of management. The first type relates to indigenous forestry and involves the management and utilisation of natural indigenous forests. The second refers to plantation forestry, which requires a different approach. Plantation forestry is a large consumer of water and plantation forests can pose problems to downstream water users.

Indigenous forests are vitally important because they are a source of biodiversity and habitat for a wide range of species.

Plantation forests are less biologically diverse but provide a product, pulp and wood, which is essential to the needs of society. It is clear that compromise will always have to be the case when examining the balance between the two different types of forestry management.

The 1992 Earth Summit produced a statement of 15 forest principles and Agenda 21 includes a chapter on forests and deforestation. The growing demand for forestry products and the pressures on indigenous forests pose serious challenges for sustainable forestry management. A number of efforts have emerged to certify forestry developments as being sustainable timber production.

One example is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a voluntary effort involving NGOs, industry and government participants, which has negotiated a consensus on criteria for credible certification programmes for sustainable timber production.