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Plantation activities and ecosystem conservation
Criteria and indicators for biodiversity conservationOrganizing Comittee of the International Symposium/Workshop on the Kyoto Mechanism and the Conservation of Tropical Forest EcosystemTokyo, Japan
The paper is based on CIFOR's research achievements contained in the following twopublications, "Fast wood forestry: myths and realities" by Cossalter and Pye-Smithand "Linking C&I to a code of practice for industrial tropical tree plantations" byPoulsen, Applegate and Raymond. One should consider all aspects of plantationwhen trying to measure their impacts on biodiversity. The two above-mentionedpublications contain key information in this respect. "Fast Wood Forestry; Mythand Realities" discusses the main points of controverse related to forest plantationsand sort out fact from fiction, truth from misinformation. The discussion on the linksbetween fast wood plantations and biodiversity is summarized as follows: Plantationactivities could do much to conserve biodiversity if they abided by a set of guidingprinciples. Impacts of plantation on biodiversity will be a function of what theyreplace. If a large swathe of natural forest is cleared to make way for a plantation,there will be a loss of biodiversity. The same applies when a natural savannaecosystem is replaced by a plantation of alien species. Yet a similar plantation,established on degraded land, might bring about an increase in biodiversity. Otherfactors of importance include the location of the plantation, its size, length ofrotation and species composition. The issue of contiguity is also important. If newplantations are sited close to existing natural forests, they may benefit from theirbiodiversity: animals, birds and insects will be readily available to invade the newplantations. However, if no such reservoir of biodiversity exists, then the chance ofthe plantations being invaded by wildlife from outside, and providing a new habitat,becomes more remote. It is worth bearing in mind that generalizations about theimpact of plantations on the biodiversity, are often misleading. The problems relatedto plantations are often site-specific, and the way in which they are planned andmanaged is of paramount importance."Linking C&I to a Code of Practice forIndustrial Tropical Tree Plantations" is a useful tool to improve plantation planningand managing. CIFOR's Criteria and Indicators (C&I) for Sustainable Development ofIndustrial Tropical Tree Plantations provides the benchmark for a plantation owner toassess progress towards sustainable forest management within their forest estate.The Code provides details on principles and minimum standards relating to improvedplantation development and establishment. The CIFOR C&I and Code for IndustrialTropical Tree Plantations in relation to biodiversity conservation are formulated asfollows: 1) Criteria: impact on structure and ecosystem function is minimized; 2)Indicators: exclusion and conservation zones are developed according to bestpractice; habitat trees are retained in plantation production areas where appropriatefor wildlife; endangered flora and fauna on international (CITES) and country lists areprotected; endangered endangered flora and fauna on local and regional lists areprotected; 3)Code of practice: a) setting aside natural forest reserves withinproduction areas large enough to maintain viable population of plants and animalsparticularly where rare and endangered; retaining areas of unlogged forest tomaintain habitat diversity. b) These areas should connect patches of forest ascorridors which will not be logged. c) retaining habitat trees in production areaswhere appropriate for wildlife; d) representation of forest types to be adequatereserved in conservation forests.