In the face of limitations of existing institutions, new mechanisms are emerging. Recent developments indicate an increased importance ascribed to environmental functions of forests and their integral role in sustainable forest management. These efforts include attempts to manage forests as ecological systems (taking into consideration forests' protective functions and their role in the conservation of biological diversity); adoption of reduced-impact logging systems and development of codes of harvesting practice; and restrictions placed on timber harvesting in forests in North America and some tropical Asian and Pacific countries. Environmental concerns have also led to certification schemes and export controls for forest products. The trend towards increased involvement of nearby communities in forest management, particularly in developing countries, allows for greater consideration to be given to local environmental concerns and to the social benefits derived locally from forests (FAO, 1997). Many Governments have regulations to promote adoption of sustainable forest management practices, and prevention of damage to forests for short-term benefits to timber companies.
A majority of these efforts have emerged independently of the climate change-related debates. Many efforts, governmental and non-governmental, national, regional and international, have been made to promote sustainable forest management. Major international initiatives include: the International Tropical Timber Organization's Year 2000 Objective, in which producer member countries have committed themselves to having all their internationally-traded tropical timber come from sustainably-managed forests by the year 2000; and national and regional efforts to define criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, and to determine means of assessing progress towards achieving it. The latter involves a number of regional initiatives, most of which have been launched since 1995, focusing on: humid tropical forests in ITTO producer countries; boreal, temperate and Mediterranean forests in Europe (the Helsinki Process); temperate and boreal forests outside Europe (Montreal Process); Amazon basin forests (the Tarapoto Proposal); and forests in dry zone sub-Saharan Africa (the UNEP/FAO Dry-Zone Africa initiative); in the Near East region (FAO/UNEP Expert Meeting for the Near East); and in Central America (FAO/CCAD Expert Meeting on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in Central America) and "towards a sustainable paper cycle" (World Business Council for Sustainable Development).
Some of the non-climate-related trends and mechanisms, which have implications for climate mitigation programmes, are:
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