Photo by Rick Toupin, USDA Forest Service
market forces through certification and forest product
purchasing is an important way to protect the rich biological
diversity of the world's rainforest.
Hurley is a senior program officer in the forest conservation
program at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, DC.
He acts as communications coordinator for the World Wildlife
Fund's Global Forest and Trade Network.
yourself suddenly dropped into an African rainforest.
On the forest floor, you can see and hear an amazing variety
of life-plants, insects, birds, even a distant troupe
of gorillas. In fact, Congo Basin rainforests are some
of the richest sources of life on Earth.
the unspoiled forest is rapidly shrinking. Although
critical for conservation, protected areas will not
be enough to conserve the rainforest's biological richness.
If forests continue to deteriorate, the biodiversity
of Congo Basin rainforests could be irreparably harmed-at
an untold cost to the world.
of the threat comes from illegal or poorly planned logging
encouraged by weak legal frameworks, poor law enforcement,
and lucrative markets. Companies in West and Central
Africa produce almost a third of the world's export
logs, and many of them are becoming concerned about
the impacts of unsustainable forestry on their own future
why the World
Wildlife Fund founded the Global Forest and Trade
Network, with funding from the Sustainable
Forest Products Global Alliance. The network helps
transform markets to sustain both forests as well as
the businesses and people that depend on them.
Global Forest and Trade Network works with companies
from across the supply chain to improve forest management
and eliminate illegally logged and traded forest products.
One tool is certification. Through credible certification
programs, the Global Forest and Trade Network aims to
improve both forest management and forest product purchasing.
are key. The Global Forest and Trade Network creates
mutually beneficial partnerships between businesses,
nongovernmental organizations, trade regulators, funders,
and others. The partners mobilize the technical, financial,
and human resources necessary to improve forest management,
focusing on forests that are both globally valuable
and threatened. The USDA Forest Service can offer information,
training, and technical assistance in such areas as
forest monitoring and reduced-impact logging. The goal
is to help producers minimize the environmental impact
of their field operations and improve their economic
by Curtis Day, USDA Forest Service
Global Forest and Trade Network transforms markets to
sustain both forests whose future hangs in the balance
and local communities.
Global Forest and Trade Network encompasses individual
forest and trade networks worldwide. Each network consists
primarily of companies committed to practicing or supporting
responsible forestry and achieving certification. About
20 individual networks operate in nearly 30 nations
throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
united by shared goals, the individual forest and trade
networks differ in orientation. Some, called buyer groups,
are demand oriented. They consist mainly of retailers,
distributors, and specifiers of forest products. Others,
called producer groups, are production oriented. Members
include forest owners and managers, processors, and
manufacturers. Each member has achieved credible certification
or is committed to making its forest management or purchasing
policies increasingly responsible.
growth is planned. In 2004, the Global Forest and Trade
Network intends to establish forest and trade networks
in South America, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia.
By the end of 2005, the network will consist of almost
30 individual forest and trade networks with more than
future of the world's forests hangs in the balance.
The Global Forest and Trade Network helps the companies
that dominate the global forest products industry fulfill
their commitments to responsible forest management and
purchasing. By transforming markets while promoting
business, the Global Forest and Trade Network is leading
the way in protecting the life of forests for generations
Forest Products Global Alliance
Forest Products Global Alliance is a private/public
partnership to promote sustainable forest management
worldwide, reduce illegal logging, and improve
the well-being of local communities. Partners
include the U.S.
Agency for International Development, the
Wildlife Fund, Metafore
(a nonprofit organization that promotes business
practices contributing to forest conservation),
Trends (a nonprofit organization that advances
sustainable forestry and poverty alleviation worldwide).
The USDA Forest Service provides on-the-ground
technical assistance to these and other partners.
U.S. Agency for International Development initiated
the Global Alliance in May 2003 with an investment
of $3.5 million. The partnership leveraged the
initial funding for a one-to-one match. So far,
the partners have contributed $8 million to achieve
their mutual goals, including $1 million from
The Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement
it takes more than just money. The Global Alliance
capitalizes on a unique combination of market
intelligence, technical expertise, and specific
country knowledge to train forest managers in
innovative logging approaches while increasing
their access to international markets. The Administrator
of the U.S. Agency for International Development,
Andrew S. Natsios, summed it up: "This
partnership has enormous potential to curb the
environmental destruction associated with illegal
logging in producer countries while contributing
to the economies of both producer and consumer