ITTO Releases Report on Tropical Forest Management

7 June 2011: The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) has released a report titled "Status of Tropical Forest Management 2011," which states that the area of tropical forests under sustainable management has increased by 50% since 2005. It also warns that over 90% of tropical forests globally are poorly managed or not at all.

The report provides a comprehensive assessment of progress being made towards sustainable forest management (SFM) in each ITTO producer member country and identifies remaining challenges. It notes that the area of timber production forests subject to at least some sort of management plan has increased by one third since 2005, but that less than 10% of all forests are sustainably managed. Andy White, Rights and Resources Initiative, stated that "reforming tenure and supporting community forestry are needed to prevent the continued loss of tropical forests."

The report also notes that 26 of 33 surveyed countries are participating in at least one initiative related to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Emmanuel Ze Meka, ITTO's Executive Director stated, “we fully support the emergence of new markets for ‘green' timber and the recent push to include forests in a climate change accord, but in many countries these developments alone may not be transformational.”

The report further reviews the progress of third-party certified forests in Africa, but notes that certification still remains expensive and generates little financial award, questioning whether certification can provide a return on investment sufficient to be a strong driver of sustainability in tropical forests. [Publication: Status of Tropical Forest Management 2011] [ITTO Press Release]