Topic 4: The Montreal Process


With tropical countries already developing guidelines for sustainable forest management, the failure of attempts to develop a forest convention at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, and a number of changes occurring in the way forests were viewed around the world, there was considerable pressure for developed countries to show that they were also managing their forests sustainably. In addition to the creation of the Forest Stewardship Council (, two parallel political processes emerged, one called the Montreal Process, and the other (at the time) called the Helsinki Process. These comprised groups of countries that came to together to discuss what they considered sustainable forest management to be, and how it would be defined, recognized and monitored. The Helsinki Process was dominated by the European Union, and was restricted to countries in Europe. The Montreal Process was originally intended to cover all temperate and boreal countries, and ended up covering about 80% of the world’s temperate and boreal forests, with the notable exception being Europe.

In this module, we examine the background to the criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management developed by the Montreal Process. This process has been chosen in favour of the European one as it governs a much larger area, and also involves a number of countries around the Pacific Rim, including Canada, the USA, Mexico, Chile, China, Japan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Background Info

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Video Lectures

1.4.1 Criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management and the Montreal Process

1.4.2 Forests of the world



Module I - Topic 4: Self-test

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