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Surviving the Cut

Natural Forest Management in the Humid Tropics

Supported by analyses of forestry techniques, case studies, and the effects of trade bans, boycotts, and timber-certification programs, this report offers recommendations to promote more sustainable management of humid tropical forests.

Executive Summary

As forests disappear at accelerating rates throughout the humid tropics, the search for effective conservation strategies has moved beyond establishing and maintaining protected areas. "Use it or lose it" is a dominant theme in virtually all strategies designed to slow deforestation in these regions. Selective harvesting of timber form natural forests--or natural forest management--is one way that forests could be used to provide economic benefits and prevent outright conversion to other land uses such as agriculture.

Yet, a vexing question remains: is sustainable forestry possible in natural forests? The record of most such efforts provides little encouragement. To promote more sustainable forestry practices, the authors of Surviving the Cut: Natural Forest Management in the Humid Tropics argue that natural forest management must be substantially redefined to emphasize ecological health and local social and economic benefits. Supported by analyses of forestry techniques, case studies, and the effects of trade bans, boycotts, and timber-certification programs, this report concludes with recommendations to promote more sustainable management of humid tropical forests.

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