Regulating industrial forest concessions in Central Africa and South America

Regulating industrial forest concessions in Central Africa and South America

Tropical countries face special specific problems in implementing sustainable forest management (SFM). In many countries, questions are raised on whether tropical forests should be publicly, commonly or privately owned and managed in order to enhance sustainability. Other debates also focus on whether small-scale enterprises are better positioned than large-scale industrial concessions to reduce poverty and attain sustainable management. In countries where large tracts of forest are state-owned, concessions are viewed as a means of delivering services of public and collective interest through an association of private investment and public regulation. However, the success of an industrial concession model in countries with large forest resource endowment to achieve multiple goals such as sustainable forest management and local/regional development depends on two critical assumptions. First, forest functions and services should be managed and maintained as public goods. Inmany cases, additional uses – and corresponding rights – can take place alongside logging activities. Industrial concessions can be more efficient than other tenure models (such as community-based forest management and small-scale enterprises) in achieving SFM, add value to rawmaterial and comply with growing environmental norms. This is especially the case in market-remote areas with low population density and poor infrastructure. Secondly, to achieve these different outcomes, any concession system needs to be monitored and regulated, especially in contexts dominated by asymmetrical information between regulating authorities and concessionaires. New institutional responses have recently been put forward in several countries, providing valuable materials to design a renewed policy mix which associates public and private incentives. This paper provides a survey of the experience of forest concessions in several Central African and South American countries. The concession system is examined in order to clarify the issues involved, the problems encountered, and what can be learned from the shared experience of these countries in the last decade. This paper argues that despite a sometimes patchy record, concessions can help promote SFM so long as they are packaged with a certain number of specific measures

Authors: Karsenty, A.; Drigo, I.G.; Piketty, M.G.; Singer, B.

Topic: sustainability,forest management

Geographic: Central Africa,South America

Publication Year: 2008

ISSN: 0378-1127

Source: Forest Ecology and Management 256: 1498-1508 doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2008.07.001

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