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Our Forests, Our Future

Our Forests, Our Future
World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development
New York: Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: 

paper, 205 p., $32.95

The world's forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Their vital function in maintaining a habitable planet is being undermined. After holding hearings on five continents, the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development — composed of 29 members from 24 countries — concluded:

"We must urgently choose a path that respects the ecological values of forests while recognizing their role in social and economic development."

This report is a compelling and well-documented appeal from a group of highly respected individuals with diverse backgrounds in politics, public policy, science and forestry. After studying a number of issues related to forests — such as a country-by-country analysis of forests, private and public interests, forest sustainability and the future of forests — the Commission created 10 recommendations. They include:

  • The global nature of the crisis requires decisive international leadership and action;
  • Governments must ensure that public interest prevails over private interests;
  • Prices and policies that truly reflect all of the benefits of forests are needed to change wasteful production and consumption patterns;
  • Protection of the remaining forests requires that future demand for wood products must be met through plantation and secondary forests; and
  • Community involvement in decision-making is essential for sustainable management of forests.

This well-documented, crisis-oriented report will be widely used by foresters, researchers and students. Hopefully it will influence politicians and others in the position to alter local, regional, national and international policies towards forests on this planet.

— Jean E. Bedger, Volunteer and Researcher, Library, School of the Chicago Botanic Garden.