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The Treaties - 27 - Forest Treaty


1. The following definitions are provided for the purposes of this treaty:

    a. Natural forests are ecosystems dominated by trees or shrubs in an original or nearly original fashion through natural generation. This definition includes mangroves

    b. Restored forests are forests planted, seeded, or otherwise restored in such a manner as to emulate the original natural forests of an area

    c. Plantations are crops of trees artificially established, primarily for specific commercial purposes

    d. Sustainable forest management means security benefits for human needs while maintaining the structure, function and integrity of ecosystems on a bio-regional basis, incorporating in perpetuity complete forest successions in each bio-region

    e. Colonists are non-aboriginal and non-traditional people who have recently moved into an area

    f. Native, indigenous and aboriginal peoples are those who have lived in relative harmony with their environment to many generations, and whose origins, as a people, are in that area

    g. Traditional peoples are non-native populations who have established non-destructive relationships with their environment and have lived there for generations.


The undersigned non-governmental organizations (NGOs):

2. Recognizing the vital role of all types of forest in maintaining the ecological processes of the earth; in protecting ecosystems, watersheds, freshwater resources, coastal areas, estuaries and adjacent seas; as a rich store house of biodiversity; and in carbon fixation

3. Recognizing also that all types of forests embody complex and unique ecological processes which are the basis of their present and potential capacity to provide resources to satisfy the biological needs of all forest dependent species, as well as environmental, cultural, historical and spiritual values

4. Believing that forestry issues and opportunities should be examined in a holistic manner, taking into consideration the multiple functions and uses of forests, including living space and the cultural survival of indigenous forest peoples

5. Recognizing that many traditional forest dwelling people have had their territories and their ability to pursue their historic cultural activities encroached upon or destroyed

6. Noting that the world's forest ecosystems have been dangerously reduced and degraded during more than a century, and that in recent decades the rate of reduction and degradation has been accelerating due to many kinds of exploitation

7. Noting also that the consumption of wood products commercially and for fuel wood is at a non-sustainable level and is being met from natural forests rather than from plantations, recycled materials and other sources

8. Noting further the leading part that national and transnational corporations play in degrading forest ecosystems during exploitation and in trading forest products, with minimum benefit to the people in the location of origin, often displacing them in the process, and often causing socio-economic, environmental and cultural damage

9. Observing that indigenous forest land-tenure systems are highly structured and defined, and are commonly overridden by law, political and market interests, which reshape access to and control over forest resources

10. Observing also that the concentration of power and control over natural resources has resulted in an increase of poverty and deprivation, putting increasing pressures on forest ecosystems

11. Emphasizing that the concentration of the control of forest lands and resources in the hands of a few owners and national and multinational corporations is a major factor responsible for deforestation and degradation of forests in many countries; and that this limits the ability of local people to influence the uses of the land

12. Acknowledging that responsibility for forest managers must be accepted by governments, local NGOs, business and individuals, without prejudice to the rights of indigenous peoples

13. Acknowledging that indigenous territories including forests must be exclusively managed by indigenous and local people in cooperation with other interested sections of society as may be decided by those indigenous and local people

14. Declaring that all types of forest areas have intrinsic values of their own, are essential for the conservation of biodiversity, and are a source of knowledge, inspiration and spiritual renewal for humanity

15. Assert that this treaty applies to all types of forests, restored forests and plantations in all geographic climatic zones

16. Further assert that the purpose of this treaty is to ensure the conservation, rehabilitation, enhancement, enlargement, natural regeneration, planting, protection and sustainable use of the world's forests as in the case is appropriate to the particular ecosystem.


17. Forests are essential to life on earth. The structure, function and integrity of ecosystems must be seen to have infinite value. Every form of forest life is unique and requires adequate habitat and protection.

18. Forests must be protected to supply the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of present and future generations, subject maintenance of the integrity of soil, water, air and the conservation of biodiversity.

19. Policies on forest conservation shall include the full permanent protection of all forest ecosystem types, the restoration and/or recuperation of degraded or fragmented forests, and the sustainable management of areas under human use.

20. Forest policy must be developed with maximum public consultation and participation especially with local forest people and community groups, and the public must have the right to appeal and enforce decisions made in the forestry sector.

21. Forests are the very life of many indigenous peoples, and therefore their traditional territories must be legally recognized, demarcated and guaranteed.

22. Traditional forest knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples should be recovered and maintained. Traditional forest rights of indigenous peoples must be guaranteed.

23. The struggle for forest conservation cannot be separated from the struggles for agrarian reform in some countries, nor from the general principles of democratization, social justice and respect for the environment.

24. The rights of indigenous and traditional peoples who make a living from the non-destructive extraction of forest products (such as rubber-tapping and nut picking) should be legally guaranteed in areas they have traditionally occupied. These extractive processes should be recognized, protected and promoted as sustainable forest management to alleviate pressure on the forests, to benefit local economies, and to help the global environment.

25. Existing monocultural and exotic plantations which have been planted for timber production should be preferentially harvested in order to take the pressure off the cutting of natural forests. These plantations should generally be converted to mixed plantations of native species.

26. In order to maximize biological diversity, natural regeneration of trees should be implemented wherever possible.

27. The role of plantations, restored forests and tree crops (such as fruits and nuts) as sustainable and environmentally sound sources of renewable energy should be recognized, enhanced and promoted. Plantations and rehabilitated forests can be a means of relieving commercial pressure on primary or old-growth forest. No land presently under natural or restored forest should be converted to plantations.

28. Plantation forestry should only occur on non-forested areas, degraded areas and areas no longer able to support natural regeneration of native forests, and that are not suitable for food crops. Plantations should not be subject to chemical or biological control or non organic fertilizers.

29. Restoring forests and establishing plantations on degraded land can play an important role in providing regional employment and development for the benefit of local people, national economies and the global environment. Before any plantation project is undertaken, environmental impact studies should be done to ensure there are no adverse effects on local economies or environment.

30. Logging practices that do not take into account habitat destruction, soil erosion, loss of biomass, adverse cultural and economic effects, or the securing of ecologically appropriate regeneration, must be internationally condemned.

31. Environmental costs and benefits including economic, social, cultural and political values, should be incorporated through green accounting into values put on forest resources by market forces and mechanisms and national accounting and reflected in real prices, permit costs and fiscal charges, in order to achieve sustainable use of forests.

32. Government forest agencies should not sell, allocate, or otherwise dispose of forest products unless those transactions show a profit based on the real value of all assets used including trees, land, soil and water in each forest area involved.

33. Recycling of wood products, especially paper, along with less wasteful logging and processing practices should play a significant part in protecting environmental values and relieving pressure of demand for new wood.


We will:

34. Use all avenues open to us to ensure that the intent and meaning of issues expressed on the preamble and principles of this treaty are understood, acted upon and implemented by all relevant sectors of society

35. Take the initiative in supporting local populations in the management, conservation and recovery of forests, with regard for the integrity of the forests, preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, promotion of social justice and democracy and improvement of the quality of life of the local people

36. Formulate - with other sectors of society - global proposals about forestry and climate policies, and will apply pressure so that government decisions on these subjects be taken jointly with other governments

37. Participate actively - in cooperation with local communities and indigenous peoples - in environmental and social impact assessments of projects which impact upon forests and their habitats to ensure that the results of these studies are analyzed in a public forum before decisions are made concerning the implementation of those projects so that the decisions which result are respected and implemented

38. Campaign for the conservation of forests, for survival and improvement in the quality of life for people living in forests, the implementation of development projects which reduce pressure on forests, and the elimination of pollutants, particularly those contributing to acid rain. NGOs will oppose attempts to manipulate forest ecosystems using chemical or biological pesticides

39. Assist in channelling financial and technical support by governmental and international agencies for forest management and recovery programs. NGOs will insist that such agencies develop policies in accordance with the spirit of the treaty

40. Try to provide legal support, with prior consultation and active participation, that is, power sharing at all stages of decision making, in conservation, management and development of projects affecting them, regardless of the lands in question

41. Actively participate in education and information exchange regarding environmentally sound forest practices

42. Demand that governments monitor the management of forest resources. Frequent, audited reports of the monitoring process should be available to any interested member of the public

43. Vigorously oppose the industrial clearcutting of remaining primary and old-growth forests, and will help to seek alternative work and method of survival for communities which depend on this practice

44. Encourage research into alternative new materials and alternative industrial processes for pulp and paper - recognizing the highly polluting character of the pulp and paper industry

45. Pressure local and national governments to confront the causes of uncontrolled urban and rural growth in forested areas, so as to prevent the speculative use of lands in their areas

46. Support popular agrarian reform initiatives, based on criteria of social equity, that deal with land distribution and forest use rights, having regard to the complexities of forest ecosystems and sustainabilit

47. Fight against political pressures caused by external debit, that increase the rate of deforestation and degradation of forest ecosystems; and suggest and encourage alternative economic models compatible with conservation of forest ecosystem

48. Campaign for the inclusion into the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) those forest species threatened with extinction

49. Educate others about the importance of forests as wildlife habitats, and fight to protect such habitats

50. Take into consideration all traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and/or local communities when supporting or developing conservation projects

51. Denounce forest practices that accelerate soil erosion and cause desertification, hydrological destabilization or habitat damage

52. Encourage and organize recycling and reuse of forest products and the general reduction of waste where forest resources are concerned

53. Encourage coalition making and information exchange at regional, national and international levels for the purposes of this treaty.


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