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Bolivia's Sustainable Forestry Laws
Alex Steffen, 17 Sep 06

Bolivia is a wooded country: it has the sixth largest forest area in the world -- more forests than all of Mexico and Central America put together. It is also a poor country, with many pressures towards deforestation, from a growing population to multinational corporate exploitation to the drug trade.

So it's somewhat unexpected that Bolivia has become a leader in sustainable forestry, with over five million acres in timber certification programs and some of the best forestry laws in Latin America.

Here at the Balaton Group meeting, Marianella Curi gave a presentation showing exactly how they did it.

The key, she says is the Forest Law of 1996, which shifted exploitation contracts from short (5-20) to longer-term (40) year concessions, and fees based on area managed, rather than volume harvested. Since '96, forest management has been happening under a variety of institutional and legal mechanisms: a ministry for Sustainable Development, a reformed constitution, a law on popular participation, a decentralization law creating subsidiarity, a forest law, education, capitalization, agrarian reform laws...

One key is that proceeds are shared equitably with the people who live there and manage the resources -- by law. Social equity is built into the model from the outset. The area managed by indigenous groups has increased. The policy has created 60,000 direct jobs. 250,000 indirect jobs, and exports are 80% value-added - no raw logs can be exported, by law. Many people benefit from these better practices, so many people have an incentive to preserve them.

The process is under strain, but the accomplishment is outstanding, showing (for one thing) that understanding that the interconnection between solutions is vital, and efforts to achieve social or environmental or development goals will fail if those goals aren't tackled together -- a point we frequently make here, but which can't be made often enough.

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alex, the link is a dead end.
hope balaton is being great! can't wait to visit and hear your thoughts.

Posted by: vicki on 17 Sep 06

Alex, thank you for the information. It's important to remark that bolivian efforts for a transition to sustinable forest management are strong supported by USAID and TNC.
For more information see the linnk

Posted by: Marianella Curi on 22 Sep 06



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