Famed GE CEO Jack Welch once said “You can’t grow long-term if you can’t eat short term.” The same can be said about forests. They can’t grow long-term if people can’t eat short term. That is the spirit behind my editorial in the Bangkok Post addressing forest certification standards.
It is certainly true that foresters should be given incentives to manage for the long-term and be given science-based standards of good forestry. Ignoring economic sustainability, however, is not a sound policy. If it isn’t economically sustainable, it won’t be environmentally sustainable.
As I wrote in the piece:
Prosperity and economic growth go hand-in-hand with good forestry practices; poverty and politics are the enemies of sustainable forestry. The evidence of this connection is everywhere. Last year the United Nations celebrated the International Year of the Forest, highlighting the link between prosperity and sound forestry. The UN noted that forest land is actually expanding in the Northern Hemisphere, where demand for wood products is high.
The areas where forests are at risk are primarily the poorest areas of the Southern Hemisphere. But in these regions, active forestry is not the culprit. In fact, it is part of the solution. Most trees in the Southern Hemisphere are cut down to cook food or to heat homes. Focusing on active forestry as the cause is misleading.
You can read the entire piece here: Don’t let politically driven forest certification derail Asia’s economic rise.