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productive forests

Making forest concessions in the tropics work to achieve the 2030 Agenda: Voluntary Guidelines

The challenge of improving forest conservation and the expansion of SFM as stated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development demands that due consideration begiven to forest production. Sustainable forest production can contribute to enhanced rural livelihoods, rural development and low-carbon economies.The proposed Voluntary Guidelines focus on promoting sustainable forest management (SFM) in concessions of public natural production forests in tropical regions.They build on the ITTO Voluntary Principles and Guidelines for the Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests, as well as other relevant guidance for good forest governance and SFM, providing practical guidance to new forest concession regimes, or existing ones. The concession guidelines stem from lessons learned in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. In combination with criteria and indicators (C&I) processes, these guidelines provide a framework for implementation and monitoring of concessions to deliver true SFM.

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Author : FAO
Last Updated : 05-31-2018

Assessing Benin’s productive forest sector


Despite efforts to establish protected areas and improve the planning and management of these areas, Benin’s forests are being degraded through slash-and-burn agriculture, demand for wood-based fuel, uncontrolled bush fires, and intensive animal grazing continues. Such activities undermine the essential ecological services that forests provide to populations. In a country where the forest sector contributes over six percent to GDP (2009 estimate) and employs more than 200,000 people in the wood-energy sector alone, the direct and indirect impacts of forest degradation are significant.

To address these trends, the Beninese Government has prioritized the conservation and sustainable management of its forest resources. The World Bank is providing support by financing a background study on the state of forestry and biodiversity in Benin. To complement this IDA study, PROFOR is supporting a supplemental analysis into to the potential for productive forests in Benin, which will also recommend targeted investments for developing the sector in a sustainable manner and contributing to job creation. 


This activity will undertake an assessment of the productive forest sector in Benin, and opportunities for long-term investments in the areas of timber and fuel wood. The study will review the main stakeholders, including the timber industries; assess national timber production needs and capacity; and identify the relevant obstacles to developing the sector. Concrete recommendations will be made with a view toward reducing the country's dependence on imports to meet its domestic demand for timber and firewood.


This activity concluded in December 2018. The activities of this ASA integrated and reinforced several processes initiated by the Government of Benin: increasing knowledge of forest sector stakeholders, strengthening national information management systems, making a concrete contribution to the planning of the Government Action Program for 2016-2021, and defining interventions that could be carried out with the support of the World Bank.

The analysis recommended that the development strategy for timber should be based on the establishment of plantations, preferably in areas favourable to the growth of teak and Gmelina (southern and central areas) and in certain climatic enclaves. The management plans of these zones dedicate on average 40% of the forests surface to wood production, half of which can be devoted to timber plantations. The development of timber plantations will contribute to achieving the Government's goal of increasing the volume of timber annually to 250,000 m3 through large-scale plantations to generate forest-related jobs and increase public revenues. 

The activity helped to influence the way in which Benin’s DGEFC plans to secure its Gazetted Forests, including ways in which to promote forest resources as a valuable source of income for adjacent communities and their members, especially women and youth, to ensure sustainable development and exploitation. Benin is in the process of using this study’s findings to help shape a project that will lend support to productive forests, specifically for fuelwood, to supply its energy needs.  

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Last Updated : 05-04-2019

How Productive Forests can Help Foster Green Growth and Mitigate Climate Change

Across the globe, demand for wood products is increasing and expected to quadruple by 2050. This trend is exacerbating deforestation and forest degradation. But it also presents an opportunity for a better approach to farming and managing forests.

A new report, Harnessing the Potential of Private Sector Engagement in Productive Forests for Green Growth, shows how sustainably harvesting wood products can help meet growing demand while providing jobs, mitigating climate change and conserving primary forests.

While it’s well known that trees and forests provide an important carbon sink, the carbon stored in forest products is often overlooked. Forest products and materials such as those used for construction and furniture store carbon for decades and even centuries.

Choosing wood products over other non-renewable materials, such as concrete and steel for construction materials, also offers climate benefits. Concrete and steel require fossil fuel to produce, making these alternatives much more carbon intensive. For example, producing a concrete wall puts 15 times more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than making a wooden one.

The new report, funded by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and the Program on Forests (PROFOR), examined the economies of six countries - Ethiopia, Colombia, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru and Vietnam - to estimate the potential climate mitigation benefits from forest-based supply chains. Together, the six countries could sequester more than 150 million tons of CO2e (see table below) by 2030 with adequate investments in forest restoration and the increased production and use of wood products. Such an approach could help countries meet their climate commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Investing in wood supply to meet demand through landscape restoration and other means also brings benefits, especially by creating new forest industry jobs in rural areas. Potential employment benefits in the six countries studied are depicted in the table below. In addition, projected demand for wood products could encourage the private sector to make long-term investments in productive forests, plantations, and wood processing.

Moving forward on sustainably harvesting forests is a delicate balance between production and conservation. If promoting forest products leads to deforestation, then climate mitigation is lost. To get the balance right, governments must create an enabling environment through better law enforcement and governance. That would help to protect and more sustainability use forests, improve land tenure, and provide the incentive mechanisms to attract private sector investments. Plantations will be key for renewable energy - sustainable charcoal and wood chips - in the future.  Private investors, rural communities and forest owners also need technical assistance to help with forest management and production, as well as easier and quicker access to market information.

“Investing in sustainably managing and using forests offers longer-term benefits over the frequently under-productive and disorganized use of many forests today,” says Gerhard Dieterle, program manager for the World Bank’s Forest Investment Program. “As found in this study, doing so would unquestionably benefit people and the planet.”

Click here to watch the video on the interview with the authors.

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Last Updated : 09-11-2017