Topic 3: ITTO’s sustainable forest management principles


The concerns about poor forest management, and specifically about the loss of species from logged forests, was echoed in the tropics, where concern has focused on the conversion of forests to other forms of land use, particularly those associated with agriculture (including small-holdings, ranching, industrial crops and other forms of food production). Faced with threats of boycotts of tropical timber by countries such as West Germany, tropical countries were galvanized into developing methods to manage forests more sustainably. In fact, it could be argued that ideas about sustainable forest management were actually developed first amongst the tropical countries, and that these ideas were subsequently adopted in western North America and elsewhere. This is particularly apparent with the use of criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management, which were first employed in documents related to the management of tropical forests.

In this topic, we examine the early attempts to develop guidelines for the sustainable forest management of tropical forests coordinated by the International Tropical Timber Organization. In the presentation, I examine some of the tremendous diversity of tropical and sub-tropical rainforests, using the example of primates.

Background Info

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Video Lectures

1.3.1 Tropical forests: Why the concern?

1.3.2 ITTO and sustainable forest management


Strongly recommended reading:

  • Poore, D. (1989). No timber without trees: Sustainability in the tropical forest. London: Earthscan. ISBN 1-85383-050-X
  • Poore, D. (2003). Changing Landscapes: The development of the international tropical timber organization and its influence on tropical forest management. London, Earthscan Publications. ISBN 9781853839917
  • Poore, D., & Sayer, J. (1991). The management of tropical moist forest lands: Ecological guidelines. (2nd ed). Gland: International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). ISBN: 2-8317-0071-X


Module I - Topic 3: Self-test

Quiz Description:

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Quiz Instructions:

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Answer the following questions to see how well you have learnt in this topic: