Codes of forest practice are sets of regulations or guidelines developed by governments or other organizations to help foresters and forestry enterprises select practices to be followed when carrying out forest management and utilization operations. Practices that conform to the regulations or guidelines should achieve a desired outcome, such as the harvest of commercial timber in a specified area of forest, in a way that meets standards for sustainable forest management.
Considerable progress has been made in recent years in the introduction of such practices in many parts of the world. Nonetheless, much remains to be done. There is a continuing need to refine harvesting systems and techniques so that they become fully compatible with the objectives of sustainable forest management, allowing them to contribute in an important way to the economic and social aims of sustainable development. This document is one response to this need. Its primary objective is to promote forest harvesting practices that improve standards of utilization and reduce environmental impacts, thereby contributing to the conservation of forests through their wise use.
The information provided in the FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice has been compiled with the intent of highlighting the wide range of environmentally sound harvesting practices that are available to forest managers, especially those requiring only a modest level of investment in training and technology. This will permit policy-makers to develop national, regional or local codes of practice which will best serve the particular needs of government agencies, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and other constituents. Before being proposed to the general public, this document has undergone unusually extensive review by experts in FAO member countries, universities, research institutes, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. It will also be published in French and Spanish in the near future.