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The ecological sustainability of tropical forest management: Evaluation of the national forest management standards of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, with emphasis on the need for adaptive management

The ecological sustainability of tropical forest management: Evaluation of the national forest management standards of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, with emphasis on the need for adaptive management

Forest Policy & Economics 5(4): 421-431

From a conceptual point of view, national forest management standards in Latin American countries have progressed significantly in recent years. Examples include the Costa Rican Standards and Procedures for Sustainable Forest Management and Certification, developed by the National Commission for Forest Certification and in Nicaragua, the National Institute of Forestry proposal of principles, criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. In line with general approaches worldwide, these national standards primarily focus on the fulfillment of sound forest practice. There is comparatively little emphasis on the assessment of management outcomes or changes in key components of the eco- and social-systems that result from management impacts. Essentially, there is little emphasis on adaptive management, though arguments that management cannot be sustainable if it is not adaptive are persuasive. This study sought to contribute to the development of standards that include elements for adaptive management that define, communicate and evaluate sustainable forest management in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Elements from the national standards and the CIFOR generic C&I template (predominantly focused on forest management outcomes) were used as a starting point. The basic research process consisted of three phases of evaluation (in-office, desk and field). The evaluations were carried out by multidisciplinary, international groups of experts in forest ecology, management and policy. This study demonstrated the value of forums and workshops that facilitate exchange between forest scientists and policymakers; the innovation and application of a practical, applicable and scientifically based methodology for developing national level C&I; and acceptance of this methodology by key players in the fields of forest management and policy. These experiences and the resulting proposals of C&I for the evaluation of ecologically sustainable forest management are expected to be used as points of reference for future development of forest policy in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and to contribute to the overall understanding of C&I development processes in the region.

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Accession: 012644171

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DOI: 10.1016/s1389-9341(03)00040-6

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