RAFT works on the ground to improve forest management across Asia Pacific. Together RAFT partners bring their varied expertise to the task of working with companies and communities to develop the knowledge and skills needed to maintain both the health and productivity of the region’s production forests.
This includes meeting legality requirements, practicing reduced impact logging (RIL), identifying and managing high conservation value forest (HCVF) areas and improving relations with local communities and all forest stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. It also includes undertaking research and demonstrating logging practices to reduce carbon emissions while maintaining economically viable timber yields – Reduced Impact Logging-Carbon practices, or RIL-C.
This work has yielded impressive results. When RAFT started in 2006, RAFT partners were working with 5 timber concessions. Today that number has grown to 79, covering 6 million hectares – with 1.3 million now FSC certified. In addition, RAFT partners have supported 43 communities either to improve management of community forest operations or to engage with timber companies operating where they live.
Forest management practices are critical, but they do not happen in a vacuum. When in sync, public policies and market requirements create a powerful driver for responsible forest management that most forest managers cannot afford to ignore. RAFT’s work to build the knowledge and skills to practice responsible forestry and trade could not be timelier. Policy and markets have clearly shifted in favour of responsible forestry and trade, and there is an urgent need to continue to build capacity across the forestry sector to respond.