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 Management decisions on appropriate practices and policies regarding tropical forests often need to be made in spite of innumerable uncertainties and complexities. Among the uncertainties are the lack of formalization of lessons learned regarding the impacts of previous programs and projects. Beyond the challenges of generating the proper information on these impacts, there are other difficulties that relate with how to socialize the information and knowledge gained so that change is transformational and enduring. The main complexities lie in understanding the interactions of social-ecological systems at different scales and how they varied through time in response to policy and other processes. This volume is part of a broad research effort to develop an independent evaluation of certification impacts with stakeholder input, which focuses on FSC certification of natural tropical forests. More specifically, the evaluation program aims at building the evidence base of the empirical biophysical, social, economic, and policy effects that FSC certification of natural forest has had in Brazil as well as in other tropical countries. The contents of this volume highlight the opportunities and constraints that those responsible for managing natural forests for timber production have experienced in their efforts to improve their practices in Brazil. As such, the goal of the studies in this volume is to serve as the foundation to design an impact evaluation framework of the impacts of FSC certification of natural forests in a participatory manner with interested parties, from institutions and organizations, to communities and individuals.
This book draws together contributions from forest economists in the Research Triangle of North Carolina, with co-authors from institutions around the world. It represents our common belief that rigorous empirical analysis in an economic framework can inform forest policy. We intend the book as a guide to the empirical methods that we have found most useful for addressing both traditional and modem areas of concern in forest policy, including timber production and markets, multiple use forestry, and valuation of non-market benefits. 'The book editors and most chapter authors are affiliated with three institutions in the Research Triangle: the Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service (K. Abt, Butry, Holmes, Mercer, Moulton, Prestemon, Wear), the Department of Forestry at North Carolina State University (R. Abt, Ahn, Cubbage, Sills), and the Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Program of Research Triangle Institute (Murray, Pattanayak). Two other Triangle institutions are also represented among the book authors: Duke University (Kramer) and the Forestland Group (Zinkhan). In addition to our primary affiliations, many of us are adjunct faculty and/or graduates of Triangle universities. Many of our co-authors also graduated from or were previously affiliated with Triangle institutions. Thus, the selection of topics, methods, and case studies reflects the work of this particular network of economists, and to some degree, our location in the southeastern United States. However, our work and the chapters encompass other regions of the United States and the world, including Latin America and Asia.
 Management decisions on appropriate practices and policies regarding tropical forests often need to be made in spite of innumerable uncertainties and complexities. Among the uncertainties are the lack of formalization of lessons learned regarding the impacts of previous programs and projects. Beyond the challenges of generating the proper information on these impacts, there are other difficulties that relate with how to socialize the information and knowledge gained so that change is transformational and enduring. The main complexities lie in understanding the interactions of social-ecological systems at different scales and how they varied through time in response to policy and other processes. This volume is part of a broad research effort to develop an independent evaluation of certification impacts with stakeholder input, which focuses on FSC certification of natural tropical forests. More specifically, the evaluation program aims at building the evidence base of the empirical biophysical, social, economic, and policy effects that FSC certification of natural forest has had in Indonesia as well as in other tropical countries. The contents of this volume highlight the opportunities and constraints that those responsible for managing natural forests for timber production have experienced in their efforts to improve their practices. As such, the goal of the studies in this volume is to serve as the foundation to design an impact evaluation framework of the impacts of FSC certification of natural forests in a participatory manner with interested parties, from institutions and organizations, to communities and individuals.
 Pro-Formal results indicate that Cameroon is characterized by a large, vibrant and largely informal domestic timber sector, which supports the livelihoods of thousands of local forest users including small-scale farmers, indigenous communities, chain-saw millers, traders and service providers.  The domestic timber sector is characterized by the activities of smallholders, chain-saw millers and traders who rarely own a legal harvesting permit and extract and process small quantities of trees with chain or mobile saws. The resulting low-quality timber is traded in domestic markets or across the borders of neighboring countries (e.g. Chad and Nigeria), with little formal taxation.  Informal taxation, conversely, is pervasive along the production chain. Results indicate that informal operators pay about 9% of their profit margins, or about EUR 6 million per annum, in bribes to representatives of ministries, local police, the military and customs officials.  By signing the VPA, Cameroon has committed to undertake broad governance reforms of the entire forestry sector. Existing laws are not geared to sustaining a healthy, small-scale, domestic timber market. Pro-Formal findings indicate a need to improve and simplify access to the resource; to develop and adopt specific fiscal regimes for the domestic timber sector (such as royalty rates, processing, transport and marketing levies); to improve access to credit on favorable terms for small-scale operators; to create incentives to comply with the law; and to improve flows of information to smaller operators. 
 With the rapid growth of biofuel production and consumption and the proliferation of policy decisions supporting this expansion, concerns about the biofuel sector’s environmental and social impacts are increasing. Consequently, a range of actors – among them governments, multilateral institutions, nongovernmental organisations and multistakeholder industry groups – have created sustainability frameworks, some mandatory, others voluntary. This report examines how the most developed sustainability frameworks for feedstock production (including biofuels) address key environmental issues. It identifies critical gaps in these frameworks and proposes areas for improvement. The main finding is that the frameworks share broad sustainability principles yet they differ greatly in terms of their comprehensiveness and how they apply specific indicators for environmental issues, particularly with respect to land use change (both direct and indirect), allocation of degraded land for feedstock cultivation, and related accounting of greenhouse gas emissions. In the absence of sufficient hard data with which to gauge the effectiveness of existing sustainability frameworks, the report notes that the standards of these frameworks are not sufficient to mitigate the effects of direct and indirect land use change and promote environmental conservation. A key recommendation is that such standards should be complemented by other policy instruments. Furthermore, as sustainability frameworks are only a means to an end, they must be supported by practical guidance, effective interpretation of standards, principles and criteria, and development of verifiable indicators, along with the provision of appropriate tools, approaches and capacity building activities.
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