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Forestry laws govern activities in designated forest lands, most commonly with respect to forest management and timber harvesting.   Forestry laws generally adopt management policies for public forest resources, such as multiple use and sustained yield.  Forest management is split between private and public management, with public forests being sovereign property of the State. Forestry laws are now considered an international affair.  
Governmental agencies are generally responsible for planning and implementing forestry laws on public forest lands, and may be involved in forest inventory, planning, and conservation, and oversight of timber sales.  Forestry laws are also dependent on social and economic contexts of the region in which they are implemented.  The development of scientific forestry management is based on the precise measurement of the distribution and volume of wood in a given parcel, the systematic felling of trees, and their replacement by standard, carefully aligned rows of mono-cultural plantations that could be harvested at set times. 
Forestry laws are intended to protect resources and prevent forest clearing, logging, hunting, and collecting vegetation.  However, there are no clear limitations set within these laws in regards to allowable cuts, harvesting rotations, and minimum harvesting diameters. Forest management plans state goals for the upkeep of the land, as well as steps to achieve them. foresters create management plans that account for each differentiated forest itself. 
In some cases, plans are made with the assumption that ecosystems within a forest are holding a steady state, separate from the forest that surrounds them.  Many foresters who are in third world countries do not have the knowledge nor training to follow by all the guidelines when making a management plan. 
Appropriate public policies and legislation serve to foster sustainable economic and social development in rural and urban areas. These policies work to safeguard the environment and protect flora, fauna and cultural heritage.  Traditionally, environmental protection has been an element of forestry through emphasizing forest conservation and accounting for environmental impacts on soil and water. In common with other sectors, forestry has been affected by the emergence of environmental awareness and legislation in the last generation.  This has brought greater emphasis on the protection of wilderness and aesthetic values. 
Biological diversity and climate change have specifically influenced forest law.  When forest management plans are created, biological diversity is represented in criteria for sustainability. Due to the Kyoto Protocol, the mitigation of climate change has become an objective of forest law and policy, complementing broader climate policies and programs. However, Rosenbaum and colleagues state that there is little legislation containing specific provisions for mitigating forest-based climate change. 
The connections between forest and other areas of law have become more complex as they have grown in ambition and scope and as other areas directly and indirectly place guidelines on how forests are managed or used. Thus the links between a country's forest laws and its general environmental laws become more important as the environmental dimensions of forest legislation increase in complexity. 
Forest legislation now recognizes the role of forests as a habitat for wildlife, a resource for grazing and agriculture, and a contributor to water and soil conservation. More recently, the general principles of environmental law and the more specific values of biological diversity have become a very visible part of forest law.  The UN Forum on Forests, an intergovernmental policy forum created in 2000, has adopted resolutions on the sustainable development of forests, especially those on Social and Cultural Aspects of Forest and Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge. 
Due to variations in nature, importance, role of forest resources and legal and institutional settings, forest law is not easily adapted between countries. The World Bank states that despite comparative studies of trends in forest legislation, there is a lack of practical guidance on how to assess improve the law.  
Actual practices differ from one country to the next, however, in all cases public forests are viewed as a national resource, that is, the sovereign property of the state.  For example, even though most forest land in the United States and Canada is privately owned, a considerable amount is held by the state as a "public good" but systematically leased to private timber producers. In India, the Raj took ownership of virtually all forests, declaring them to be "wasteland" and, therefore, unowned. In Indonesia, forests are legally state owned but are treated as private property, while in Brazil, the lack of national government renders forests open access commons. In this role, the conservation of forests is tightly linked to the production of timber and other commodities that generate both capital and jobs, and the economies of large regions are almost wholly dependent on natural resource production from those forests.  
New forest laws have been adopted in Eastern European countries as part of their transition to a market economy. These laws had considerable effect on the structure of forest land ownership, improvements in management regulations, and modernization of the forest sector's institutional framework.  New forest legislation has also been developed in several countries in Western Europe in order to adapt to changing economic conditions, social demands, and more political participation of interest groups and citizens at local and regional levels. 
The evolution of forest legislation in the European Countries indicates that understanding of how natural resources are to be used in a sustainable manner depends on a given economic and social context.  The meaning of sustainable forestry is determined by local circumstances and their significance has considerably changed over time. Today sustainable management is understood as forestry practices which respect the naturally given potentials of the ecosystems and maintain the diversity of forests in their typical landscapes. They leave multiple options for an increasing production of wood, protection of the environment, and recreation. 
Public provisions referring to forest uses over more than one generation are among the oldest forms of long-term environmental policies.  Customary law, codified in the 14th century, regulated forest uses in accordance with the demands and options of their times.  An increasing number of forest and timber ordinances, issued from the 16th century onward, followed.  Meeting local needs, long-term availability of raw materials and energy, and increased outputs through better forestry practices were the issues at stake. Legislation established the requirement of a continuous flow of wood production, which meant stopping exploitation of what was available. It recognized the long-term nature of forests, and promoted the involvement of several generations in forestry activities.  Increasingly, it provided for planning and management, and for measures of regeneration and reforestation. This introduced principles of utilizing renewable natural resources as a requirement for sustainability as we understand it today. 
In the USA the Federal Government manages about 33% of forests, and 9% is managed by local governments.  This accounts for 343,901,880 acres (1391722 kilometers) of forest land.  Much of this land is made up of National Parks or National Forests which began with the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872. After this, in 1891, the Forest Reserve Act was passed.   The National Parks are managed by the National Park Service (NPS), which is a bureau of the Department of the Interior (DOI).  National Forests are managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 
New policies place responsibilities for, and powers over, wood fuel management into the hands of economically interested individuals and the Forest Service. The Forest Service maintains complete control of all production and management decisions through required approval and through control of the rules by which production and management can take place. 
The role of private forestry reaches up to over 80 percent of forest production in some countries.  However, in many countries, private forestry has never been significant and, even when land has been privatized, the state has often retained the forests. In much of Africa, individual land ownership is relatively limited so that the closest approach to private forestry is usually community forestry (although South Africa and Eswatini, among other countries, have extensive private plantations).  More recently, the values of farm forestry and of private capital and management have increased official interest in private forestry. 
Illegal forestry activities deprive governments of billions of dollars in tax revenues, as well as cause environmental damage and threaten forests.  Forest related corruption and widespread violation of forestry laws undermines the rule of law, discourages legitimate investment, and gives unfair advantages. Money generated from illegal forestry activities has even been used to finance armed conflict.  Concern about the extent to which illegal logging has been contributing to forest loss has grown sharply since the 1980s.  A very large proportion of the timber entering both national and international markets has been accessed, harvested, transported and traded in contravention of national law in countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Honduras, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, and Russia. 
The World Bank (2002) estimates that illegal logging results in an annual loss of around US$10–15 billion in developing countries worldwide.  Although it is anticipated that better governance, increased rent capture by the state, and improved forest management can all benefit the poor indirectly, the direct impacts of illegal logging and forest law enforcement on rural livelihoods have not been a priority consideration to date. 
The ways in which people use and value forests are changing. Growing populations, changing culture, technology, and science are increasing the demand for forest resources. In recent years forest laws around the world have been significantly revised in response to these changes.  However, the lack of information about who really uses forests presents a major problem to forestry policy makers and supportive development agencies that are mandated to adopt a pro-poor approach. Without clear data it becomes all too easy to overlook the interests of lower income individuals when designing policy interventions aimed at improving forest management or asserting forest law.  Some forest laws specifically favor poor rural households and ethnic minorities. Over the last few decades, many governments in Latin America recognized indigenous peoples' rights over large territories, but indigenous people often find it difficult to protect those territories from invasion by loggers, miners, and farmers. 
According to the World Bank, "more than 1.6 billion people depend to varying degrees on forests for their livelihoods. About 60 million indigenous people are almost wholly dependent on forests. Some 350 million people who live in or adjacent to dense forests depend on them to a high degree for subsistence and income. In developing countries about 1.2 billion people rely on agroforestry farming systems that help to sustain agricultural productivity and generate income." 
Schmithüsen et al., advocate for a rights-based approach to forestry management with emphasis upon strengthening human rights networks, improving the independence of the judiciary, promoting legal literacy among rural communities, and providing legal aid; rather than a singular focus on forestry laws. They state a rights-based approach should be linked to governance reform programs aimed at creating public accountability and transparency in the management of natural resources and should be developed through processes of broad engagement with civil society organisations and based on national governments' commitments to reform law. 
A large portion of forestry legislation focuses on administrative requirements, fees, taxes, and property rights.  The recognition of traditional-group rights to areas used in common, such as forest or pasture is still lacking, despite governments or colonial powers recognising individual claims, based on custom or usage, to land used for agriculture or housing. according to the World Bank. By treating such land as "empty" during the process of settling rights, governments around the world have vested in the state ownership of vast expanses of forest land. 
Law enforcement is the last resort for obtaining compliance with the law. There are at least three approaches to overcoming the difficulties of proving offenses that have taken place in remote locations. One is to focus enforcement on more visible acts, such as transport. Another, common in civil law, is to make the official report of a sworn official admissible as evidence in further proceedings. This effectively shifts the burden of proof to the defendant. A third device is the use of evidentiary presumptions, which similarly shifts the burden of proof to the defendant. 
In many countries the contrast between what forestry law prescribes and practical implementation may vary. Even where the law is strong, illegal behavior by both public and private actors often continues.  The United Nations explains illegal behavior due to the lack of financial and human resources to monitor and control forest activities in, forest departments. As these forest activities occur in remote areas, government officials may be under immense pressure to condone violations, or engage in violations themselves; court systems are backlogged or bankrupt; the difficulties of daily life for the rural poor may overwhelm any likely risks associated with violating the law; etc. 
These explanations underscore the point that while good forestry legislation is necessary, it is obviously not sufficient. The laws in many countries lie unused or underused for reasons like failure of political will, weak institutions, or even general disregard for the rule of law. 
A dual approach of private as well as public law schemes might possibly become an interesting modern policy mix enhancing enforcement: private law certification schemes might support public regulations (f.i. DDS, due diligence systems, like the EU Timber Regulation). 
Forestry management dates back to customary law codified in the 14th century. In 1992, representatives of 180 countries met in Rio de Janeiro to consider, among other things, the adoption of an Agreement on Forestry Principles.  They adopted the Agreement on Forestry Principles, entitled a "Non-legally binding authoritative statement of principles for a global consensus on the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests." 
Scientific forestry was based on the precise measurement of the distribution and volume of wood in a given parcel, the systematic felling of trees, and their replacement by standard, carefully aligned rows of mono-cultural plantations that could be harvested at set times. 
The tendencies that become apparent from recent changes in forest laws and regulations in several European countries show a variety of approaches and may be judged from different point of views. Relevant criteria for analysis on the advancement of legislation are consistency, comprehensiveness, subsidiarity, and applicability. 
Consistency requires the compatibility of forest regulations with constitutional values and democratic rules, with national policies addressing land-use, economic development and environmental protection, and with international commitments and multilateral agreements. Comprehensiveness refers to the objectives of forest legislation with regard to forest protection and forestry development, to different types of forest tenures, and to the rights and responsibilities of various categories of forest owners. Subsidiarity relates to the role of forests as national, regional and local resources. It also relates to the double nature of forests as private production means that may be used according to the decisions of land owners and as resources that yield numerous benefits to the community. Subsidiarity indicates to what extent public programs support the activities of land owners.  Applicability refers in particular to the organisational framework of public forest administrations in relation to changing responsibilities and tasks, and to appropriate forms of participation of forest owners and interest groups in regulating forest uses and management practices. Coordination of competencies among public entities is an important aspect in evaluating the applicability of new or amended regulations. 
Environmental law is a collective term encompassing aspects of the law that provide protection to the environment. A related but distinct set of regulatory regimes, now strongly influenced by environmental legal principles, focus on the management of specific natural resources, such as forests, minerals, or fisheries. Other areas, such as environmental impact assessment, may not fit neatly into either category, but are nonetheless important components of environmental law.
The United States Forest Service (USFS) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands. The Forest Service manages 193 million acres (780,000 km2) of land. Major divisions of the agency include the Chief's Office, National Forest System, State and Private Forestry, Business Operations, and Research and Development. The agency manages about 25% of federal lands and is the only major national land management agency not part of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Illegal logging is the harvest, transportation, purchase, or sale of timber in violation of laws. The harvesting procedure itself may be illegal, including using corrupt means to gain access to forests; extraction without permission, or from a protected area; the cutting down of protected species; or the extraction of timber in excess of agreed limits. Illegal logging is a driving force for a number of environmental issues such as deforestation, soil erosion and biodiversity loss which can drive larger-scale environmental crises such as climate change and other forms of environmental degradation.
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is a non-profit scientific research organization that conducts research on the use and management of forests with a focus on tropical forests in developing countries. CIFOR, which merged with World Agroforestry on Jan. 1, 2019, is the forestry and agroforestry research center of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a network of 15 research centers around the world that focus on agricultural research for sustainable development, working closely with governments and other partners to help develop evidence-based solutions to problems related to sustainable agriculture and natural resource management.
Certified wood and paper products come from responsibly managed forests – as defined by a particular standard. With third-party forest certification, an independent organization develops standards of good forest management, and independent auditors issue certificates to forest operations that comply with those standards.
Environmental crime is an illegal act which directly harms the environment. These illegal activities involve the environment, wildlife, biodiversity and natural resources. International bodies such as, G7, Interpol, European Union, United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, have recognised the following environmental crimes:
The Korea Forest Service is an independent agency specializing in forestry that is overseen by the South Korean Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It is charged with maintaining South Korea's forest lands. The current minister is Kim Jae-Hyun. The headquarters of the agency is located at the Daejeon Government Complex.
Sustainable forest management (SFM) is the management of forests according to the principles of sustainable development. Sustainable forest management has to keep the balance between three main pillars: ecological, economic and socio-cultural. Sustainable forestry can seem contradicting to some individuals as the act of logging trees is not sustainable. However, the goal of sustainable forestry is to allow for a balance to be found between ethical forestry and maintaining biodiversity through the means of maintaining natural patterns of disturbance and regeneration. The forestry industry mitigates climate change by boosting carbon storage in growing trees and soils and improving the sustainable supply of renewable raw materials via sustainable forest management. Successfully achieving sustainable forest management will provide integrated benefits to all, ranging from safeguarding local livelihoods to protecting biodiversity and ecosystems provided by forests, reducing rural poverty and mitigating some of the effects of climate change. Forest conservation is essential to stop climate change.
Landscape-scale conservation is a holistic approach to landscape management, aiming to reconcile the competing objectives of nature conservation and economic activities across a given landscape. Landscape-scale conservation may sometimes be attempted because of climate change. It can be seen as an alternative to site based conservation.
Deforestation in Cambodia has increased in recent years. Cambodia is one of the world's most forest endowed countries, that was not historically widely deforested. However, massive deforestation for economic development threatens its forests and ecosystems. As of 2015, the country has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world.
Forestry in India is a significant rural industry and a major environmental resource. India is one of the ten most forest-rich countries of the world. Together, India and 9 other countries account for 67 percent of total forest area of the world. India's forest cover grew at 0.20% annually over 1990–2000, and has grown at the rate of 0.7% per year over 2000–2010, after decades where forest degradation was a matter of serious concern.
The environment of Brazil is characterized by high biodiversity with a population density that decreases away from the coast.
Deforestation is a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystems in Costa Rica. The country has a rich biodiversity with some 12,000 species of plants, 1,239 species of butterflies, 838 species of birds, 440 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 232 species of mammals, which have been under threat from the effects of deforestation. Agricultural development, cattle ranching, and logging have caused major deforestation as more land is cleared for these activities. Despite government efforts to mitigate deforestation, it continues to cause harm to the environment of Costa Rica by impacting flooding, soil erosion, desertification, and loss of biodiversity.
Deforestation is one of the most serious environmental issues in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's current forest cover as of 2017 was 29.7%. In the 1920s, the island had a 49 percent forest cover but by 2005 this had fallen by approximately 26 percent. Between 1990 and 2000, Sri Lanka lost an average of 26,800 ha of forests per year. This amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 1.14%. Between 2000 and 2005 the rate accelerated to 1.43% per annum. However, with a long history of policy and laws towards environmental protection, deforestation rates of primary cover have decreased 35% since the end of the 1990s thanks to a strong history of conservation measures. The problem of deforestation in Sri Lanka is not as significant in the southern mountainous regions as it is in northern and lowland southern Sri Lanka, largely due to the nature of environmental protection.
Community forestry is an evolving branch of forestry whereby the local community plays a significant role in forest management and land use decision making by themselves in the facilitating support of government as well as change agents. It involves the participation and collaboration of various stakeholders including community, government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The level of involvement of each of these groups is dependent on the specific community forest project, the management system in use and the region. It gained prominence in the mid-1970s and examples of community forestry can now be seen in many countries including Nepal, Indonesia, Korea, Brazil, India and North America.
Deforestation in Indonesia involves the long-term loss of forests and foliage across much of the country; it has had massive environmental and social impacts. Indonesia is home to some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world and ranks third in number of species behind Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Deforestation in Papua New Guinea has been extensive and in recent decades from 2001 to 2020, Papua New Guinea lost 1.57Mha of tree cover, equivalent to a 3.7% decrease in tree cover since 2000, and 1.15Gt of CO₂e emissions.
Community-based forest management (CBFM) constitutes “a powerful paradigm that evolved out of the failure of state forest governance to ensure the sustainability of forest resources and the equitable distribution of access to and benefits from them”. In 1995, the Philippine government adopted CBFM as a national scheme to promote sustainable forest governance, in recognition of the negative impacts occurring as a result of widespread forest loss across the country. The scheme stresses the importance of involving communities in sustaining the forest through projects such as timber harvesting, agro-forestry and livestock raising. CBFM therefore advocates an increasingly ‘bottom up’ – as opposed to the historically ‘top down’ and centralised - approach to sustainable forest governance involving a variety of stakeholders. By 2005, 5503 projects had been established across the country. For this reason the Philippines has been considered a pioneer within Asia for the successful implementation of CBFM as a nationwide tool of forest governance.
The Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry is a ministry in the government of Myanmar responsible for the country's forestry and logging sectors. From 1948 to 5 March 1992, the Ministry was joined with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation as the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests.
According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Myanmar lost 19%, or 7,445,000 hectares, of forest between 1990 and 2010. With forest covering as much as 70% of Burma at the time of independence, there were only slightly more than 48% forest cover left as of 2014. The deforestation rate of Myanmar has declined from 0.95% per year in the years 1990–2010 to about 0.3% per year and deforestation in Myanmar is now less than other countries of the region such as Indonesia or Vietnam, but still remains an important environmental issue. Three main factors contribute to continued deforestation: unsustainable and illegal logging, unresolved land rights and land disputes and extensive agricultural development.