Tokyo Consultation: International Workshop on Model Forests for Field-Level Application of Sustainable Forest Management

International Workshop on Model Forests for Field-Level Application of Sustainable Forest Management – Record of Workshop Discussions
March 10 to 12, 1998 – Tokyo, Japan

  • Executive Summary (aussi disponible en français)
  • 1.0 Background
  • 2.0 Workshop Objectives
  • 3.0 Keynote Address
  • 4.0 Key Findings
    4.1 Attributes and Characteristics of Model Forests
    4.2 The Operational Role of Model Forests in
    progressing to Sustainable Forest Management
    4.3 Model Forests at National and International Levels
  • 5.0 Co-Chair’s Synthesis
  • Annex A. Agenda
  • Annex B. Opening and Closing Remarks
    Opening Remarks – Mr. Isao Takahasi, Director-General, Forestry Agency, Japan
    Opening Remarks – Mr. Frederick Johnson, Executive Director, IMFNS
    Closing Remarks – Mr. Isao Takahasi, Director-General, Forestry Agency, Japan
  • Annex C. Key-Note Addresses
    Mr. Yoshio Hironaka, Director, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Credit Foundation, Japan
    Mr. S.K. Pande, Additional Inspector General of Forests, Ministry of Environment and Forests, India
  • Annex D. Presentations/Case Studies
    1. Brazil, Country Report, by Paulo José Prudente de Fontes
    2. Canada, Country Report, by Daniel Welsh
    3. China, Country Report by Yaoguo Xiong and Zhaohua
    4. CIFOR, Case Study, by Bambang Soekartiko and Neil Byron
    5. FAO, Fact Sheet, Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management
    6. Finland, Case Study, The Taiga Model Forest, presented by Taneli Kolstrom
    7. India, Country Report, by S.K. Pande and Bharat Lal
    8. Indonesia, Country Report, by Titus Sarijanto and Silver Hutabarat
    9. ITTO, Workshop Report, presented by Takeichi Ishikawa
    10. Japan, Country Report, by Takao Fujimori
    11. Kenya, Country Report, by Ben Otieno Wandago
    12. The Republic of Korea, Country Report, Forestry Administration
    13. Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Country Report, Department of Forestry, presented by Khambay Khamsana
    14. Manitoba Model Forest, Case Study, by J. Mike Waldram
    15. Mexico, Country Report, Secretary of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries, presented by Eduardo Casas Diaz
    16. Myanmar, Country Report, by U Kyi Maung
    17. Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea Forest Authority, presented by Kanawi Pouru
    18. Russia, Country Report, by Valentin V. Strakhov
    19. Gassinski Model Forest, Case Study, by Vladimir Pominov
    20. Senegal, Country Report, by Ndiawar Dieng
    21. Thailand, Country Report, by Apiwat Sretarugsa
    22. United States of America, Workshop Report, Oregon Department of Forestry, presented by James E. Brown
    23. Vietnam, Country Report, by Nguyen Ngoc Lung and Nguyen Truong Thanh
  • Annex E. Participants
  • Annex F. Annual Model Forest Workshop Series, Forestry Agency of Japan


Executive Summary

The Tokyo Workshop on Model Forests was hosted by the Forestry Agency of Japan and was provided with sponsorship from the International Model Forest Network Secretariat (IMFNS). The three-day event brought together participants from 17 countries and four international organizations to this first of four annual workshops to be hosted by Japan on the issue of field-level applications of sustainable forest management. This inaugural workshop also represented a Japanese contribution to the consultation process to determine the future of the IMFN, as agreed to by 12 countries in meetings held on the margins of the World Forestry Congress in Antalya, Turkey, in October 1997.

The Tokyo workshop sought to identify views among participants as to what model forests are and how they can operationally contribute to the goals of sustainable forest management at the field or landscape level.

To stimulate this discussion participants were asked to report on model forest or analogous initiatives in their countries and to discuss the model forest concept within the context of three specific questions: What are the attributes of a model forest? What does a model forest do? How does it do it (locally, nationally, and internationally)?

The workshop output consists of the Compilation of Key Findings, which was endorsed at the closing plenary. The document will be used by the Forest Agency of Japan in its planning for the 2nd international workshop on field-level applications of sustainable forest management and by the IMFNS as input into its global consultation on the future of the IMFN. Although the compilation document does addresses all three questions posed in the discussion, time did not permit in-depth discussion of the needs and expectations of participants in model forests with respect to networking.

The workshop was successful in identifying a number of common themes and a variety of shared ideas concerning model forests. In both plenary and facilitated working group discussion, considerable attention was given to the importance of an inclusive and flexible partnership structure and its role at the local level; of the need for model forests to be useful demonstration sites; and for them to address sustainable forest management issues at the operational level. There was broad concurrence that model forests need to be relevant to both local communities as well as within given national policy frameworks and take into account the cultural, institutional and political setting.

There is no standard template for model forest development. The attributes of partnership and sharing through networking are common to model forests, however, the activities and approaches taken to meeting the objectives of sustainable forest management must incorporate the variations and special circumstances found in the local environment due to differences in the social, cultural, economic and political setting.

The workshop findings validated the key attributes of partnership and networking which have been used to define model forests. The findings of this workshop will be incorporated with those of other regional and bilateral meetings in the IMFN consultation process and reported to the participating countries and other interested organizations.

1.0 Background

The background of the workshop can be described as follows:

The International Workshop on Integrated Application of Sustainable Forest Management Practices, held in Kochi, Japan in November 1996, proposed a “new culture” on land use planning and forest research and extension, which recognizes the linkages between the field level and the international level in the forest sector. The conclusion of the workshop was submitted to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) at its fourth session for its deliberations on the Proposals for Action, and consequently, IPF, in its final report, acknowledged the usefulness of testing and demonstrating the concept of national forest programmes on an operational scale.

Based on the outcomes of above-mentioned workshop in Kochi, Japan is now planning to host a series of international workshops on the promotion of field-level demonstration of sustainable forest management or namely, “model forest” projects, which is to be held annually from FY1997 to FY2000. This initiative is a part of Japan’s strong commitment to promote and facilitate international actions toward achieving sustainable forest management, and is also consistent with a proposal made in August 1997 by the High-Level Advisory Group on the International Forest Issues appointed by the Director-General of Forestry Agency, Japan, which called for a global initiative on developing and implementing field-level model forest projects for the demonstration of sustainable forest management. Background information on this series of workshops is found in Annex F.

In addition, on October 16, 1997, an informal meeting of heads of forestry agencies from 12 countries and the FAO was held during the World Forestry Congress in Antalya, Turkey. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange views and interests in model forests and to discuss a multi-country consultation process to chart the future of the International Model Forest Network (IMFN).

Japan attended the meeting in Turkey and announced its plan to hold the first of its series of model forest workshops in Tokyo early in 1998. This was welcomed by the countries present at the meeting as well as by FAO and IMFN Secretariat. This first workshop which was hosted by the Japanese Forestry Agency and sponsored by the IMFNS supports the IMFN consultation process.

2.0 Workshop Objectives

The workshop objectives were:

    • 1) to deliberate and exchange views on the role of model forests in achieving sustainable forest management;

2) to propose practical options for effectively promoting model forest projects;

3) to enhance international cooperation in this context; and ultimately

4) to develop and propose ways of feeding back the result of model forest projects to the overall land use policy planning process in each country.

The Tokyo workshop focused in particular on the first two of the four objectives.

In support of the Workshop objectives, participants in the Working Group discussions were requested to exchange views on the attributes, goals, objectives, activities and other defining characteristics of model forests, under the headings of

  • Attributes and Characteristics of Model Forests (MF)
  • At the operational level, what role can Model Forests play in progressing towards SFM?
  • How can MFs work nationally and internationally

Recommendations were sought on the characteristics necessary for the model forest concept to be successfully and practically applied at the field level.

3.0 Keynote Address

The workshop included two keynote addresses. One from Mr.Yoshio Hironaka, Director, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Credit Foundation, Japan and the other from Mr. S.K. Pande, Additional Inspector General of Forests, Ministry of Environment and Forests, India. They are attached to this report as Annex C.

4.0 Key Findings

The following compilation of key findings is based on the conclusions of the three working groups, supplemented by information from the keynote speeches and the presentations.

4.1 The attributes and characteristics of model forests

(a) The following attributes and characteristics of model forests involve people

  • People take part voluntarily in model forest implementation as partners, whether as individuals or in groups or communities, in the decision-making process;
  • Participation should be broad-based, reflecting the diversity of users and their range of their needs from the forest. All should participate on an equal footing, but with particular attention to those frequently omitted such as the poor, the landless or women. It must be recognized that partners may be unequal in experience and that there may be the need to pursue special training or education for some groups;
  • Participation should include land-owners, government and industry. The support of land-owners is essential, who retain decision-making rights and responsibilities in conformity with respective national laws, regulations and state policy.
  • Management objectives should reflect the needs and interests of the people and as such will differ from country to country and from model to model – “each model forest is unique”;
  • the model forest is a training centre for human resource development and capacity building

(b) Model forests activities should aim to demonstrate

  • appropriate practices;
  • the sharing of information and teaching for the transfer of technology is an important attribute of model forests

(c) The primary activity of model forests is sustainable forest management at field level, which should be in conformity with the environmental, social and economic requirements of sustainable forest management

  • management systems chosen should reflect the objectives, the available budget and the capabilities of the participants
  • within the objectives determined by the participants, management should be for a range of benefits, including watershed management
  • the management systems of the model forests should be simple, relevant, practical and appropriate;
  • management systems should manage the forests as ecosystems and optimise biological diversity to the extent possible;
  • supporting data and information systems are required for the effective planning and management of model forests – among other systems they include commercial forest inventory, the assessment of biological diversity, inventories of non-timber products, and estimates of the value of NTFP or services such as the protective function of watersheds;
  • forest management and supporting systems can be based on adaptations of existing systems, or on new systems developed by research.
  • Forest management and supporting systems must be appropriate to different scales and, linked to the demonstration function at (b) above, must be replicable, adaptive and subject to a process of continuous, long-term improvement.

(d) Model forests include a wide range of other activities in support of management

  • such other activities will often include research and development, training, public awareness, networking locally, nationally and internationally (see section 4.3);
  • the development of local indicators may be necessary to measure progress towards sustainability in forest management

(e) Model forests should be linked to national forest and land use policies

  • the linkage may be from top down, in that the model forest objectives and activities must conform to national policies;
  • the linkage may also be from bottom up, in contributing to national level policy development

(f) The structure of the model forest has certain characteristics

  • it is flexible and dynamic;
  • the organisational structure may be defined by ownership
  • the territorial structure may comprise watershed management

4.2 The operational role of model forests in progressing to sustainable forest management

The following summary of the conclusions of the three working groups repeats in some instances attributes already covered under section 4.1, and includes some under 4.3

(a) Empowerment

  • The degree of empowerment of people to manage forest resources will depend on local conditions.
  • Whatever the level to which ultimate control is delegated, the primary concern is to establish effective partnerships, equal participation and effective mechanisms for conflict resolution.

(b) Defining sustainable forest management in local terms, and re-defining it over time as needs change. Criteria adapted from national processes may assist in the definition of local sustainable forest management

(c) Contribution to food security

  • Model forests may have an important role in promoting food security for participants in terms of food directly from the forest (fruits, fodder etc.), protection for agriculture and livestock and watersheds, and the provision of rural employment and income.

(d) Generation and sharing of data and information

  • The generation of data and information has already been noted as an attribute of model forests. This contributes to informed decision making by participants, but an extra effort may have to be made to inform less experienced partners so that they can take part effectively in the process. The availability of information makes the decision-making process more flexible and open and contributes to the building of trust.
  • The provision of information is also closely linked to the role of model forests in public information for the conservation, protection and sustainable management of all forests.
  • Data collection and analysis is essential for monitoring and evaluation of the model forest’s performance and impact. Data collection is required for the quantification of local indicators of trends in progress towards sustainable management.

(e) 3-T’s – Test, Try, and Teach

  • The role of the model forest is to test hypotheses through research, to try them out and develop them at operational level, and then to teach the new techniques to the target audience, at local level or through the exchange of information through networking.
  • Indigenous knowledge or experience relevant to sustainable forest management or (for example) the uses of non-wood forest products or medicinal plants may be tested and adapted.
  • Teaching need not be confined to the field level, but the role of the model forest may be to send upwards details of experience gained which may contribute to national planning or policy development.

(f) Contributions outside the model forest

  • The model forest may have a role to play in contributing to development outside the immediate project boundaries. Its implementation may demonstrate the commitment of the government to local action
  • The model forest may contribute to general improvements in land use management through its demonstration function, or to defining the place of forests in relation to other forms of land use, or in helping people to identify their broad relationship (e.g. economic, spiritual, social or cultural) to the forest
  • The model forest may serve to check national standards for sustainable forest management, new equipment etc. by virtue of its controlled environment
  • The model forest may promote thinking in 3-dimensions, doing, knowing and being in the forest, including the intrinsic value of forests

4.3 The Model Forest at National and International Levels

Although there is no global formula, the model forest could be set up following these broad steps:

  • appraisal/evaluation to review/facilitate local dialogue (introducing the “catalytic agent”);
  • bringing the potential partners together and identifying the opportunities;
  • model forest decision-makers consult with interested parties on possible shared objectives etc.;
  • draw support from the rest of the participants, up to the general population;
  • identify the goals and objectives;
  • establish a representative body;
  • implement the project within national legal and policy frameworks

The organisational structure for the model forest will vary to meet different political and social conditions; no single structure will fit all cases. It should, however, capture the range of values of the participants and involve private owners where they are present. Frequent dialogue and co-ordination with government at local and national/regional level is necessary in the development of the structure.

Co-ordination and co-operation between national model forests should be encouraged, to share experience and to reduce duplication of efforts and resources. Those setting up model forests should learn from those who already have experience.

In establishing the model forest there will likely be need for changes in the attitudes of forest managers in relation to devolving control and decision-making and new skills will be needed for all forestry staff – model forests require “model foresters”.

As the national network of model forests develops there will be need for some sort of focal point or secretariat to promote and co-ordinate networking and information-sharing. The national secretariat may serve to co-ordinate action needed at national level to solve local problems e.g. the removal of constraints to provide free access to markets.

Support to the implementation of model forests through networking will generally be important, depending on the geographical spread of the activities being implemented by the model forest; those of purely local interest may not benefit from networking. Different networking techniques should be used appropriate to circumstances, and conventional techniques should not be scorned.

Time did not permit in-depth discussion of the needs and expectations of participants in model forests with respect to networking, especially at the international level. Activities and mechanisms for international networking will require further exploration.

Partners for networking may include university academics, research workers, the media and even local industries. There may be possibilities for linkages with existing international networks to help develop a network.

In joining an international network countries should consider the cost and obligations to the network and the benefits expected from it.

5.0 Co-Chair’s Synthesis

The following workshop synthesis was prepared and written by the two workshop co-chairpersons, Dr. Yukichi Konohira and Dr. John Naysmith:

“First we would like to acknowledge the excellent work of the Workshop Secretariat under the leadership of Mr. Nagame. Many people have worked extremely hard prior to and throughout the workshop and without them the success we have been able to attain over the past three days would not have been possible. We would like to extend our particular thanks to the Workshop translators – they have done a fine job.

Now turning to the results of our deliberations. As your Co-chairs Dr. Konohira and I were impressed as we went through and analyzed last evening the results of the three Working Groups.

The outcome of the Working Group sessions when combined with the substantial discussion that took place this morning in the Plenary session have resulted in a Key Findings Document of which all Workshop delegates can be proud.

In their Welcome Addresses on Tuesday, Mr. Takahashi and Mr. Johnson made several important points.

Mr. Takahashi spoke of “our sincere hope that a new series of international foresters’ dialogue, starting this year, will provide an open forum toward better understanding and formulation of model forests for the practical demonstration of sustainable forest management.” I am certain Mr. Takahashi will be pleased when he is briefed on the effectiveness of this Workshop to do just that, and with the results you have attained.

You will recall that Mr. Johnson urged us to move from the policy down to the practical level, that is to the people , the trees and the land. Dr. Konohira and I are impressed with the extent to which the Workshop, that is all of you, have succeeded in doing that.

The Key Findings Document is a very substantial, practical and potentially far-reaching one. Delegates were asked to focus on two objectives namely: to deliberate and exchange views on the role of Model Forests in achieving sustainable forest management; and to propose practical options for effectively promoting Model Forest projects. In the context of these objectives the Workshop organizers posed three questions:

  • What is a Model Forest?
  • What does a Model Forest do?
  • How does it do it?

Each question was addressed in clear, practical terms. The result is a Plenary document that, like Model Forests themselves is dynamic and people oriented. To be effective the Key Findings Document must now be connected to a broader audience if it is to be a catalyst for the establishment of new Model Forests. It has, in our opinion, all of the qualities necessary to advance the concept of Model Forests at the Global scale.

The Document speaks to the involvement of local people. Much has been said about empowerment – we believe the Workshop Document makes clear the role of the Model Forest and how it can appropriately assist in this important issue. Knowledge, skills, increased level of awareness, all bring with them empowerment. What is needed are the appropriate initiatives to enable such capacity building to take place.

As this is done we must not forget the power of the local genius, that is the collective traditional knowledge that has existed with people at the local level for generation upon generation.

The Workshop Document also states that there must be a range of economic benefits that flow to local people. There was unanimous agreement on this point. The Document also refers to the environmental benefits that accrue from Model Forest initiatives. This is equally important – we sometimes lose sight of the fact that economic benefits are often the direct outcome of reducing environmental degradation.

Model Forests, as have been described in the Document, underscore the connection between the forest and human kind. Although the principal objective of Model Forests is Sustainable Forest Management considerable emphasis is placed on the involvement of people. For example: Workshop delegates have agreed that Model Forests should have: objectives that reflect the needs and interests of the people; broad-based participation in which all partners participate on an equal footing; and the support of land owners.  Delegates also observed that Model Forests require “model foresters”, involved as they will be in the devolution of control and decision making.

A key point related to the role of a Model Forest was that it must operate within national policy and legislation – that is within the “laws of the land”. In so doing Model Forests should contribute to the general improvement in land use management through the demonstration of best practices and the sharing of information.

The Workshop concluded that there could be no global formula for the establishment of Model Forests since they must reflect different political and social conditions. Cooperation among national Model Forests should be encouraged however to reduce duplication of effort and to facilitate the opportunity to learn from each other.

Finally Dr. Konohira and I wish to say how much we were impressed with the quality of the presentations, the discussions that took place in the Working Group and Plenary sessions, and the constructive atmosphere that prevailed throughout the Workshop. All of those factors have led to a Key Findings Document that provides excellent guidance for countries wishing to consider establishing Model Forests and a sound basis for future international discussions on their role in sustainable forest management.  Congratulations on a job well done.”

© 2022 International Model Forest Network

This website has been developed with support from the Government of Canada.