Working Forests in the Neotropics

Working Forests in the Neotropics: Conservation through Sustainable Management?

Daniel J. Zarin
Janaki R. R. Alavalapati
Francis E. Putz
Marianne Schmink
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 416
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/zari12906
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  • Book Info
    Working Forests in the Neotropics
    Book Description:

    Neotropical forests sustain a wealth of biodiversity, provide a wide range of ecosystem services and products, and support the livelihoods of millions of people. But is forest management a viable conservation strategy in the tropics? Supporters of sustainable forest management have promoted it as a solution to problems of both biodiversity protection and economic stagnation. Detractors insist that any conservation strategy short of fully protected status is a waste of resources and that forest management actually hastens deforestation. By focusing on a set of critical issues and case studies, this book explores the territory between these positions, highlighting the major factors that contribute to or detract from the chances of achieving forest conservation through sustainable management.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50303-7
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. List of Contributors
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Jorge Viana

    Acre is a unique state in Brazil. One hundred years ago the territory was part of Bolivia; on August 6, 2002, the state celebrated its hundredth anniversary. Of the state’s 150,000 km², 90% is still forested. Most of the deforestation is located along the agricultural and cattle frontier in the east.

    Migrants and entrepreneurs moved to Acre from southern Brazil beginning in the 1970s and began to clear the forests in the southeastern portion of the state where they could be reached by roads. The clearing of these forests took away the livelihoods of rubber tappers who had lived there...

  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. Chapter 1 NEOTROPICAL WORKING FORESTS: CONCEPTS AND REALITIES
    (pp. 1-12)
    Daniel J. Zarin

    In the past two decades, many scientists have measured rates of destruction and degradation of neotropical forests that are unprecedented in human history (e.g., Skole and Tucker 1993, Cochrane et al. 1999, Nepstad et al. 1999). In the same interval, others have increased our awareness of the intermingled history of humans and neotropical forests that stretches back millennia and, with the exception of the past few hundred years, is written not on paper or parchment but on the walls of caves and in the ashes of their hearths, in the shards and shells buried in middens and broken in the...

  7. PART 1 Industrial Forestry as a Tropical Conservation Strategy
    • Chapter 2 ARE YOU A CONSERVATIONIST OR A LOGGING ADVOCATE?
      (pp. 15-30)
      Francis E. Putz

      Progress toward resolving major conservation issues often is impeded by false dichotomies such as the question posed by the title of this chapter, inspired by an ecologist’s recent critique of the World Bank’s 2002 Forest Policy (Laurance 2002). A similarly irritating question—“Are you an environmentalist, or do you work for a living?”—was posed some years earlier in the title of a provocative essay by a well-known environmental historian (White 1995). In both cases the polarization may be politically expedient, but it seems unnecessary and even damaging. In any event, the points are compelling and relevant to the debate...

    • Chapter 3 NATIONAL FORESTS IN THE BRAZILIAN AMAZON: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
      (pp. 31-40)
      Adalberto Veríssimo and Paulo Barreto

      Forests cover approximately 65 percent of the 5 million km² that constitute the legal Brazilian Amazon, encompassing almost one-third of the world’s remaining tropical forests (Uhl et al. 1997). These forests have important roles in hydrologic and carbon cycles that influence the global and regional climate (Salati and Vose 1984, Shukla et al. 1990, Skole and Tucker 1993, Houghton et al. 2000). Amazonian forests also contain tremendous biodiversity and have a great variety of tree species with timber value, of which about 350 are commercially harvested (Martini et al. 1994). The Brazilian Amazon ranks among the top three tropical timber...

    • Chapter 4 SUSTAINABILITY OF SELECTIVE LOGGING OF UPLAND FORESTS IN THE BRAZILIAN AMAZON: CARBON BUDGETS AND REMOTE SENSING AS TOOLS FOR EVALUATING LOGGING EFFECTS
      (pp. 41-63)
      Michael Keller, Gregory P. Asner, Natalino Silva and Michael Palace

      Brazil has a strong internal market for wood and wood products. According to the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics, the volume of roundwood production in the Brazilian Amazon between 1991 and 2000 was 35 million m³ per year (http://www.igbe.br/, accessed August 2, 2002). Given a nominal harvest volume of 30 m³/ha, this implies that in an average year approximately 1.2 million ha was affected by logging in the 1990s. Based on a survey of sawmills conducted in 1996 and 1997, Nepstad et al. (1999) estimated that approximately 1.0 to 1.5 million ha per year was logged. Although these numbers...

    • Chapter 5 FOREST SCIENCE AND THE BOLFOR EXPERIENCE: LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT NATURAL FOREST MANAGEMENT IN BOLIVIA
      (pp. 64-96)
      Francis E. Putz, Michelle A. Pinard, Todd S. Fredericksen and Marielos Peña-Claros

      Bolivia, one of the poorest nations in the Americas, is a world leader in ecologically sound and socially just management of natural tropical forest, as certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC; Nittler and Nash 1999, Fredericksen et al. 2003). Of the many conditions favorable to forest management in Bolivia, low population density, poor access to extensive forests, and high costs of transportation to world markets outside this landlocked country figure prominently. Applied research and training in forestry under the auspices of the Bolivian Sustainable Forestry Project (Proyecto de Manejo Forestal Sostenible de Bolivia, BOLFOR) also contributed to better forestry...

    • Chapter 6 THE BUSINESS OF CERTIFICATION
      (pp. 97-116)
      Joshua C. Dickinson, John M. Forgach and Thomas E. Wilson

      Maintenance of viable tropical forest ecosystems outside parks and equivalent reserves can benefit substantially from voluntary third-party forest management certification, especially as coordinated by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Certification can also enhance the well-being of people living in and around forests. Addressed here is the apparent bottleneck between well-managed forests and discerning consumers, which is the business of certified forestry in tropical, developing country settings. Business in this context refers to many considerations, including business management and entrepreneurship at the company or community level, attractiveness to venture capital and outside investors, government policies, and marketing and consumer preferences.

      When...

  8. PART 2 Working Forests and Community Development in Latin America
    • Chapter 7 COMMUNITIES, FORESTS, MARKETS, AND CONSERVATION
      (pp. 119-129)
      Marianne Schmink

      In keeping with the polemic approach of Putz (chapter 2), this chapter might be titled “Are You a Conservationist or a Human Rights Advocate?” Are we forced to choose between preservation of forests and respect for the rights and needs of people who live in or near them? Believing this to be a false dichotomy, many initiatives over the past few decades have tried to address conservation and development in an integrative framework, one that would benefit local peoples and the natural systems on which they depend. Despite the promise of this approach, there have been many failures. Partly in...

    • Chapter 8 MAKING MARKETS WORK FOR FOREST COMMUNITIES
      (pp. 130-155)
      Sara J. Scherr, Andy White and David Kaimowitz

      Forests and trees play a critical role in the livelihoods of the world’s poor. Some one-fourth of this group depends fully or in part on forest resources to meet subsistence needs for staple and supplemental foods, construction materials, fuel, medicines, cash, and local ecosystem services, as well as farm inputs such as animal feed and nutrients for crops. But many of these same rural people are also forest producers, from indigenous communities with vast tracts of natural tropical forests to individual farmers who plant trees along their farm boundaries (box 8.1). Low-income farmers may earn 10 to 25 percent of...

    • Chapter 9 INSIDE THE POLYGON: EMERGING COMMUNITY TENURE SYSTEMS AND FOREST RESOURCE EXTRACTION
      (pp. 156-177)
      Tom Ankersen and Grenville Barnes

      Formal tenure systems have generally focused on defining the outside boundary of community tenure systems, resulting in a homogeneous polygon that is treated as communal property by the formal legal system. In fact, if one looks inside this polygon, most of these “communal” tenure systems are a complex web of individual and shared rights that deal with the use and allocation of community resources. In this chapter we describe and compare three community tenure systems and delve into the tenure system operating inside the polygon.

      Many valuable forested areas in developing countries fall under a community tenure system. The traditional...

    • Chapter 10 AIMING FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY FOREST MANAGEMENT: THE EXPERIENCES OF TWO COMMUNITIES IN MEXICO AND HONDURAS
      (pp. 178-199)
      Catherine Tucker

      In a context of global deforestation, and despite widespread good intentions to protect forests, sustainable forest management has proved elusive. Not only do forests comprise highly complex and inadequately understood ecosystems, but they are also subject to competing demands and conflicts between stakeholders in the international, national, and local arenas. With few exceptions, the people who live in or near forests have been excluded from policymaking relevant to the resources on which they depend. This situation has contributed to increasing social inequities, deforestation, and failures of national policies (Ascher 1995; cf. Klooster 1996, Agrawal 2000). Many local populations have struggled...

    • Chapter 11 COMMUNITY FORESTRY FOR SMALL-SCALE FURNITURE PRODUCTION IN THE BRAZILIAN AMAZON
      (pp. 200-220)
      David G. McGrath, Charles M. Peters and Antônio José Mota Bentes

      A large proportion of Amazonia is occupied by smallholders who obtain their livelihood through shifting cultivation and the extraction of forest resources. With the rise of the extractivist movement in Brazil in the late 1980s, interest was generated in the potential of these groups for the sustainable management of Amazonian forests (Schwartzman 1989, Allegretti 1995). This movement has been highly successful in pressuring the Brazilian government to pass and implement policies in support of its agenda, and to date twenty-five extractive reserves of various types have been created, covering 3.8 million ha and including 154,000 people (including both extractive reserves...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
    • Chapter 12 COMMUNITY FORESTRY AS A STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT: PERSPECTIVES FROM QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO
      (pp. 221-237)
      David Barton Bray

      The most sustained case against the ecological and economic feasibility of sustainable management of tropical forests has been developed by researchers associated with Conservation International (CI) (Reid and Rice 1997, Rice et al. 1997, Bowles et al. 1998, Hardner and Rice 1999, Rice et al. 2001a, 2001b). These authors argue that efforts to promote sustainable forest management (SFM) have been largely futile because it will always be more profitable to harvest as many commercial-sized trees in the shortest possible time and invest the profits in other sectors.

      The CI group has further argued that policies that promote SFM are doomed...

    • Chapter 13 CARBON SEQUESTRATION POTENTIAL THROUGH FORESTRY ACTIVITIES IN TROPICAL MEXICO
      (pp. 238-257)
      Bernardus H. J. de Jong

      The Scolel Té project for carbon management and rural livelihoods in southern Mexico (Scolel Té 1998) began in 1996 after a six-month feasibility study that brought together Mexican and British scientists and representatives of indigenous farmers from the state of Chiapas. The objective of the project was to develop a generic system for planning and administering the production and commercialization of carbon sequestration with the participation of small-scale landowners and communities. The majority of the rural population of Chiapas and other southern states are small-scale indigenous farmers, most of whom live in and operate under communal land ownership of various...

    • Chapter 14 AXING THE TREES, GROWING THE FOREST: SMALLHOLDER TIMBER PRODUCTION ON THE AMAZON VÁRZEA
      (pp. 258-276)
      Robin R. Sears and Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez

      Small villages occupy a significant portion of the banks of the Amazon River on forest land that is periodically flooded. Residents of the várzea, as this landscape is called (periodically flooded lands, sensu Prance 1979), depend on swidden–fallow agriculture and the extraction of local natural resources for subsistence and income. Although these axe-wielding smallholder farmers necessarily maintain open fields and secondary forests, their role in deforestation is minor compared with that of ranchers, large-scale timber extractors, and industrial development projects that deforest, high-grade, or otherwise degrade the landscape on a large and intensive scale (Hecht and Cockburn 1989, Nepstad...

  9. PART 3 Working Forest Paradoxes
    • Chapter 15 NEOTROPICAL WORKING FORESTS: FOR WHAT AND FOR WHOM?
      (pp. 279-289)
      Janaki R. R. Alavalapati and Daniel J. Zarin

      With nearly 1 billion ha of natural forests, Latin America accounts for about 25 percent of the world’s forests and half of all remaining tropical forests. For many indigenous groups, local communities, and governments, working forests are major sources of livelihood and economic growth. Deforestation and forest degradation rates of these working forests are alarming. The average annual deforestation rate in the continent is about 7.5 million ha, or 0.8 percent (Keipi 1999); rates of forest degradation by wildfires and uncontrolled logging are even higher (Cochrane 2003). Keipi (1999) noted that growing population pressure, rural poverty, limited environmental awareness, inappropriate...

    • Chapter 16 ON DEFYING NATURE’S END
      (pp. 290-309)
      Gustavo A. B. da Fonseca, Aaron Bruner, Russell A. Mittermeier, Keith Alger, Claude Gascon and Richard E. Rice

      Thirteen thousand years ago, North America underwent a major extinction spasm that completely changed the character of its fauna in a period of less than 3000 years. Magnificent mammals, including ground sloths, giant elk, mastodonts, and saber-toothed tigers, disappeared in the blink of an eye in geological time. Although the exact cause of this transformation is still debated, there is increasing evidence that it was induced directly and indirectly by the progressive occupation of the American continent by humans (Alroy 2001, Dayton 2001, Flannery 2001).

      Today, some of the earth’s last remaining biodiversity hotspots appear headed for a similar cataclysm...

    • Chapter 17 SELECTIVE LOGGING, FOREST FRAGMENTATION, AND FIRE DISTURBANCE: IMPLICATIONS OF INTERACTION AND SYNERGY
      (pp. 310-324)
      Mark A. Cochrane, David L. Skole, Eraldo A. T. Matricardi, Christopher Barber and Walter Chomentowski

      Deforestation in the tropics has been a major concern for several decades. Human conversion of ecosystems to agricultural use has generally entailed the felling and burning of ever-increasing tracts of forest. However, the tropics have been increasingly drawn into the global market as their regional economies have developed. Consequently, as external markets for wood and nontimber forest products expand, the wood products that can be derived from standing forests are becoming more valuable. Working forests and agroforestry are beginning to compete with other agricultural systems as economically viable human uses of the available land. This valuation of standing forests may...

    • Chapter 18 LIMITED OR UNLIMITED WANTS IN THE PRESENCE OF LIMITED MEANS? THE ROLE OF SATIATION IN DEFORESTATION
      (pp. 325-338)
      Arild Angelsen and Martin K. Luckert

      There is a widespread policy belief that one of the strategies needed to conserve forest lands is intensified use. This applies both to intensified use of adjacent agricultural land through provision of improved agricultural technologies (including agroforestry) and to new technologies, intensified use, and better prices of forest products. The integrated conservation and development programs (ICDPS) have been based on this assumption (e.g., Newmark 2000). The reasoning is that if more agricultural or forest products are produced through intensified efforts in some areas, then other areas of forests may be set aside and conserved. An underlying assumption of this approach...

    • Chapter 19 FROM STAPLE TO FASHION FOOD: SHIFTING CYCLES AND SHIFTING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AÇAÍ PALM FRUIT ECONOMY IN THE AMAZON ESTUARY
      (pp. 339-365)
      Eduardo S. Brondízio

      There may be no better example of an economic prospect for overcoming underdevelopment in rural Amazonia than the case of the açaí palm fruit (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) production system. Emerging from the initiative of local producers to supply a growing demand for açaí fruit, using locally developed technology and knowledge with respect to forest management, açaí fruit production embodies the social and environmental principles that permeate the discourse of sustainable development for the Amazon region. At the same time, the formation of this production system poses important questions concerning the spread and duration of benefits resulting from booming tropical forest...

    • Chapter 20 THE HOMOGEOCENE IN PUERTO RICO
      (pp. 366-376)
      Ariel E. Lugo

      Biologists fear the Homogeocene, the era when humans dominate the biosphere (McKinney and Lockwood 1999, Lockwood and McKinney 2001), because it signals a drastic reduction in biodiversity and a homogenized biota with little resemblance to the conditions we experience today (Putz 1997, 1998). Although there are differences of opinion on how human activity leads to species homogenization (Lugo 2001), there is agreement that human activity causes changes in species composition of forests. McKinney and Lockwood (1999) base their argument for global homogenization on a faster rate of extinction of rare species than the rate of invasion of globally common species....

  10. PART 4 Envisioning a Future for Sustainable Tropical Forest Management
    • Chapter 21 CONVENTIONAL WISDOM ABOUT SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT AND A PRO-POOR FOREST AGENDA
      (pp. 379-387)
      David Kaimowitz

      Conventional wisdom is a funny thing. We hear some ideas so many times that they end up seeming almost self-evident. This is particularly common when those ideas make a certain amount of intuitive sense. With understandable complacency, we often fail to ask ourselves about the evidence for this conventional wisdom.

      The previous statement definitely applies to the case of the conventional wisdom about sustainable forest management in tropical countries. Many people in the forestry community have repeated the same ideas for so long that everyone simply assumes they are true, but they may not be. I suggest we need to...

    • Chapter 22 GOVERNING THE AMAZON TIMBER INDUSTRY
      (pp. 388-414)
      Daniel Nepstad, Ane Alencar, Ana Cristina Barros, Eirivelthon Lima, Elsa Mendoza, Claudia Azevedo Ramos and Paul Lefebvre

      The Amazon is the world’s largest reserve of tropical timber (Uhl et al. 1997). Each year, approximately 2000 wood mills process 30 million m³ of timber harvested from 10,000–15,000 km² of forest (Veríssimo and Lima 1998, Nepstad et al. 1999b). And yet the Amazon timber industry is in its infancy. Most of the old-growth forests of Amazonia are not yet accessible, protected from loggers’ chainsaws by high transport costs. The “passive protection” of these forests will be lost in coming years, however, as all-weather roads are paved into the core of the Amazon forest (Nepstad et al. 2000, 2001, Carvalho...

  11. Index
    (pp. 415-438)