Global Deforestation Trends

High-Level Expert Group Meeting

25-26 January 1988

Lisbon, Portugal

Chaired by Ola Ullsten


  • The build-up of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases in the atmosphere could cause an increase in the earth's surface temperature between 1.5 c and 4.5 c by the year 2030, although this could be mitigated by the absorptive capacity of oceans and other factors.
  • The combustion of fossil fuels adds annually some 5 billion tons of CO2 to the overall total of 700 billion tons in the atmosphere. Deforestation increases this amount by a further annual 1-4 billion tons.
  • To absorb 1 billion tons of CO2, some 2 million square kilometers need to be reforested.
  • 11.5 million hectares of tropical forest, equivalent to a territory larger than the size of Portugal, disappear each year as a result of cutting or burning.
  • In relation to cutting, reforestation lags behind at rates of 1:4 (Asia), 1:10 (Latin America) and 1:29 (Africa).
  • The global population reached 5 billion in 1987 and because of the large proportion of children in the developing countries, there is a built-in demographic momentum. Even if birth rates continue to decline, the total world population will therefore exceed 10 billion before it stabilizes.
  • For many developing countries, including those with extensive woodlands, the absolve numbers added to their populations each year will continue to increase for several decades, even though the percentage growth may decline. It is the absolute numbers which exert pressure on forests and other natural resources.
  • 70% of the people in developing countries use wood as their domestic fuel. For 1986, it was estimated that 1.3 billion people live in areas of fuelwood deficits, while by the year 2000 2.4 billion people will be in acute need of fuelwood.
  • In 1983, developing countries used 1.7 billion cubic meters of wood, 82% of which as fuelwood. In developed countries only 19% of 1.3 billion cubic meters was used for fuel.
  • By the year 2000, the number of net exporting countries of forest products may be reduced from currently 33 to 10.
  • Developing country exports of industrial forest products are predicted to drop from a present annual level of US$7 billion to less than US$2 billion annually by the end of the century.
  • Nigeria and Thailand, several years ago wood-exporting countries, now import annually US$100 million worth of paper and lumber.
  • 40 to 60 million types of animal and plant species exist today on earth, of which the overwhelming majority is found in tropical forests, although they account for only 7% of the earth's landmass. Only 1.5 million species have been described, of which 2/3 belong to moderate climatic regions.
  • Between 1990 and 2020, an average of 50 species per day is anticipated to disappear irretrievably in the tropics.
  • In the mid-1980s, some 2.5 to 3 million m3 of woodland were deemed to be declining in central Europe as a direct and indirect result of air pollutants and natural stress factors.
  • The decrease in the growth rate of the forests in temperate regions starts 25-30 years before any damage becomes visible.
  • In the mid-1980s, the volume of declining forests in central Europe and the Nordic countries was equivalent to 10-20 years of future wood consumption in Europe, having a market value of US$ 375 billion at 1988 rates. This volume corresponds to the capacity of 25,600 modern saw mills and 560 modern pulp mills.


1. We are experiencing a global warming. this development poses a frightening threat to the future of humanity as it will have dramatic effects on the global habitat, among others causing a substantial change in the patterns of rainfall. Over the last century, the earth has warmed by 0.5-0.7 C. A further warming of 0.5-1.5 C is expected over the next decades and a continued warming into the indefinite future. Long-term climatic stability is being replaced by progressive instability towards progressively warmer climates as a result of two developments, the impact of which transcends national boundaries:

(a) The growing accumulation of unnaturally high levels of carbon dioxide and certain other infra-red absorptive gases in the atmosphere, caused by combustion of fossil fuels;

(b) Deforestation in all regions of the world is progressing at a faster rates than previously observed and faster than the rate of reforestation. The result is a further release of CO2 to the atmosphere from the decay of organic matter in plants and soils and from the burning of woods.

The accumulation of CO2 (and CH2 and H20 and certain other infra-red absorptive gases) in the atmosphere is causing the so-called "greenhouse effect", a progressive warming of the earth. Heat which radiates back from the earth is trapped in the atmosphere. While the trend is clear, broad uncertainty exists as to the actual figures.

2. In the middle and higher altitudes, which include the temperate zone forests and the boreal forests, especially in Central and Northern Europe, the general public has become fully aware and sensitized to the manifest and rapid decline of forests (Waldsterben), its causes, primary and secondary effects and resultant dangers, including economic damage.

By now, there is sufficiently well-established scientific knowledge that the decline of forests in the Northern hemisphere, in addition to natural stress factors, is basically caused by ozone and different air pollutants (sulfuric and nitrogenic) - the well known concomitant of combustion of fossil fuels. The problem is now appearing in developing countries, too. Of late, however, stemming particularly from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, concern about these trends has been overshadowed by worries about the risks of nuclear energy as a potential alternative to fossil fuels.

3. The catastrophic - global - dangers inherent in the rapid disappearance of tropical forests have not yet met a comparable public awareness.

The reasons for the uncontrolled tropical deforestation are several:

  • governmental policies that make it profitable at public expense;
  • resettlement programmes advanced by Governments;
  • speculation in land;
  • harvest of lumber for cash to meet national balance of payments obligations or debt;
  • expansion of agricultural lands; and
  • population pressure (use of wood resources as fuelwood, increased food and housing requirements).

4. The effects of tropical deforestation are aggravated by a series of other serious consequences:

(a) environmental degradation and a decline in agriculture as a result of the decrease of watershed and fresh water supplies leading to a gradual desertification of huge territories, especially in Africa;

(b) a loss of a renewable resource of significant importance to the economies of developing countries generating export earnings and securing the implementation of social and economic development plans;

(c) the emergence of an energy crisis as annually an additional 100 to 200 million people suffer from lack of fuel wood supplies;

(d) as the forests are the primary reservoir of biotic resources, the depletion of a vast number of plant and animal species, especially in tropical areas, reduces global natural wealth and causes an irreversible loss of biotic diversity and genetic material (germplasm) which may be essential for food products and the nutritional and health needs of coming generations.


6. If the problem of deforestation is not tackled by effective action in the immediate future, the global habitat may succumb to a chain process of catastrophic climatic changes in the foreseeable future. Given the considerable body of scientific knowledge, the time has come to lift that interlinked problems of deforestation -globally, but especially in tropical areas - and climatic change from the obscurity of political neglect and scientific esotery. Political and scientific leaders in all countries must assume jointly their responsibility and exercise leadership with respect to these long-term issues having consequences well into the next century. Societies must be mobilized to take a number of specific steps to limit the degradation and degeneration of ecosystems and to minimize the effects on future generations.

7. There will be no solutions that do not entail economic and political sacrifices. On the other hand, the global economic and social costs of inaction will be staggering, measured - for tropical areas - in terms of poverty, starvation, health, indebtedness, energy consumption, accelerated greenhouse effect, housing, disappearance of genetic resources and environmental refugees. It could also jeopardize national and regional security and stability as a result of social unrest and upheaval and competition for scarce resources, especially water. In temperate regions, the costs of inaction may appear as repercussions to industrial policies and reduced standards of living.

8. A special responsibility rests with industrialized countries. If they can demonstrate convincingly their resolve and ability to tackle the temperate forest problems, it will be easier to work together with developing countries to take adequate and sustained action on the tropical forest front.

9. Leaders in all countries should therefore pursue policies and action in line with the following overall objectives:

(a) Slow down the extent and rate of global warming trends: a continuous climatic change towards an ever warmer earth is unacceptable and, therefore, the composition of the atmosphere must be stabilized. To this end, the combustion of fossil fuels for heating, transportation and electricity production must be globally reduced and regional levels of emissions/air pollution must be cut back as initial steps. As currently energy is generated from fossil fuels and nuclear energy and both entail to varying degrees considerable risks, a research programme not the potential and the application of new sources of energy should be aggressively pursued and development of technologies preventing the accumulation Co2 explored;

(b) prevent the further destruction of the world's forests: decrease deforestation - increase reforestation through careful management - prevent catastrophic clearance on upland watersheds - achieve regional self-sufficiency in industrial and domestic fuelwood by accelerated investment in economically viable and ecologically sustainable fuelwood and in other wood supplies primarily for use and export;

(c) Stabilize the diversity of biotic resources on earth: set aside undisturbed or largely undisturbed forest areas as genetic reservoirs, as natural parks or as tropical forest reserves to decelerate the extinction process.

In this context, action to preserve tropical forests assumes critical importance in view of their impact on the global climate, their genetic diversity, their energy potential, their relevance for watershed management, their economic and trade impact and their potential to contribute as farm trees to sustainable agriculture. Nevertheless, a gain in temperate boreal forest areas may from a global perspective compensate for the reduced CO2 absorption resulting from the loss of tropical forests.

10. The 1940-1960s were characterized by the formation of military alliances; the 1960s-1980s were dominated by the emergence of economic and trade associations in all regions of the world; the last years of the 20th century must now be devoted to the forging of ecological pacts among countries transcending economic and political barriers and mistrust existing since the end of the Second World War.

11. To emphasize the importance of decisive action and need for longer-term measures, the international community should designate the 1990s as the International Decade for Forest Rehabilitation and Conservation.


12. Measures need to be taken in a number of fields and specific proposals are made to that effect in the annex. Suffice it to list the various fields where action is called for:

a) The intensification of policy and basic scientific research on an interdisciplinary and co-operative basis;

b) Measures to protect tropical forests which should include the implementation of the Tropical Forest Action Plan, the formulation of a policy reform package for forest-relevant areas and the adoption of effective national legislation;

c) Supportive measures by international aid agencies and bilateral donors, commercial creditor banks and creditor governments and non-governmental organizations;

d) Measures to protect the forests in middle-altitude/temperate regions (including boreal forests) through an expansion of forest ares, the adoption of a comprehensive temperate forest action plan and the creation of a European Forum for Natural Forest Protection;

f) Measures to heighten public awareness; and

g) The need to conclude international conventions.





1. The current dearth of up-to-date information on the state of the world's forests and the magnitude of deforestation rates as well as the limited fundamental research carried out in this area, point to an urgent need for adequately financed policy and scientific research on an interdisciplinary and collaborative basis. Governments, Academies of Science and international and national (aid) agencies should be encouraged to establish and endow national, regional and international institutes for these purposes. The following tasks could be assigned to these institutes:

a) to establish reliable data on global, regional and subregional trends and to prepare land-use capability maps;

b) to conduct fundamental research into appropriate genetic strains of seedlings and to research and develop suitable species, especially multipurpose trees (e.g. rubber and fruit trees);

c) to intensify scientific research into potential uses for undisturbed or undiscovered tropical plant species and to establish basic biological inventories;

d) to study methods of forest management from direct and indirect production and to develop sustainable methods of agriculture in humid tropics;

e) to research the social and ecological impact of deforestation;

f) to analyze the effect of various economic incentives, taxation and tariff schemes, concessions, royalties on deforestation trends;

g) to explore short and long-term policy options for national and international policies;

h) to offer training and exchange opportunities.

The members of the InterAction Council and Policy Board should initiate with their respective national Academies of Science the founding of interdisciplinary institutes or programmes, either on a national basis or jointly with other countries.

2. Further supplementary measures could be taken in the scientific and policy research field:

a) Scientific and research organizations should prepare annual national and global inventories on the state of the forests presenting policy-makers with convincing data about the national significance of, and long-term dangers to, forests and about the magnitude of the trends observed.

b) The superpowers should contribute to the analysis results and data gained through satellite imagery allowing an assessment of evolving deforestation trends.

3. As the current energy consumption pattern (burning of fossil fuels in industrialized countries and fuelwood in developing countries and use of nuclear power) contributes to both an increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration and progressing deforestation and poses considerable risks, the research into the potential and the practical application of alternative energy sources such as solar or solar-hydrogen energy should be accelerated and supported at a much larger scale than hitherto by Governments, the private sector, scientific institutions and international and bilateral aid agencies.


4. The Tropical Forestry Action Plan (TFAP) - jointly developed by the World Bank, UNDP and World Resources Institute - provides a useful framework for action. It should be implemented quickly and needs adjustment, however, to reflect concern for indigenous people and to place greater emphasis on the need to preserve biological diversity. Also, the involvement of local and national NGO's should be ensured.

Given the threat which deforestation poses to development and economic growth in the countries affected and in view of the considerable cost of non-action outlined above, donor governments and aid agencies should be urged to commit themselves to the full financing of the rather moderate amount required to put TFAP into reality. Estimated at US$ 5 billion over a five-year period, in line with the absorptive capacity of the countries' infrastructure, the cash aid element amounts to only US$ 1 billion while the remaining US$4 billion represent contributions in kind.

To put it in perspective: the total amount required over the five-year period is slightly higher than the equivalent of the cost of one aircraft carrier of the Nimitz class.

5. At the national level, Governments must devise and implement a package of policy reform measures to achieve an economic management of tropical forests and to help prevent a dramatic reduction in the number of net wood-exporting countries and their becoming net importers by the year 2000. The objectives of such measures should comprise:

a) reduced consumption levels (by eliminating wastage in utilization and processing);

b) increased revenues and export income (by raising stumpage prices for higher value species);

c) reinvestment into forestry (reforestation);

d) a better balance between log export and domestic manufacture;

e) incentives for people participation in forest conservation and management.

6. A number of additional measures could be taken to protect tropical forests by means of national legislation:

a) Regulation of the logging of forests in the interest of proper forestry management based on silviculture (i.e. after cutting, natural and artificial regeneration should be carried out in a timely manner);

b) Increase in the number of ecological reserves and shelter belts and provision of incentives to protect already existing areas, to preserve maximum genetic diversity and to stimulate the production of fiber, food, fruit, fodder and fuel (enabling farmers to obtain a considerable amount of timber and fuelwood);

c) Creation of properly managed industrial forest plantations, avoiding monocultures of little ecological value.

7. To soften the direct negative impact on tropical forests resulting from the needs of a growing population, countries should be encouraged:

a) to adopt and implement programmes of land tenure reform to ensure that a larger number of smallholders will have access to land which may reduce the likelihood of peasants migrating to forest areas in search of survival;

b) to develop appropriate agro-technologies to help bring about a rise in crop production which in turn may reduce the exploitation of forests for agricultural purposes.

8. Within the tropical forest area, the Amazon basin is playing a crucial role (which is not to overlook Central Africa and South-East Asia). Thus, special responsibility rests with the countries inside the basin to ensure that:

- in the absence of technical, scientific and economic resources to manage humid tropical forests in a sustainable manner, no new highway construction or large-scale hydroelectric projects should be initiated;

- the system of present financial subsidies favoring cattle ranching without responsible forest management be revised;

- desired levels of national agricultural production be brought about through a productivity increase in other farm lands instead of an expansion of agriculture land in Amazonia.

9. International development aid agencies and bilateral donors should:

a) ensure that the impact of projects in tropical forest areas on the ecology, deforestation and indigenous communities become part of the policy dialogue with developing country governments and that projects are accordingly rigorously controlled; to establish resilient ecosystems, it may be necessary to operate on the basis of clusters of countries ensuring regional ecological sustainability;

b) provide loans at concessional terms for multi-purpose and multi-species plantations in degraded and semi-degraded areas;

c) strengthen their forestry and conservation departments in terms of staffing and financial resources so as to enable them to cope with the increasing and complex challenges.

10. Developed countries should eliminate tariffs (e.g. on processed timber) that discourage value-added production of wood in exporting countries and lead to increased logging for the purpose of increasing foreign exchange receipts of a timber-exporting country.

11. Commercial creditor banks and creditor governments should consider pursuing debt-for-nature swaps in support of tropical forests. Recent schemes of debt-for-nature swaps, although quite modest in financial terms, may hold considerable potential for the protection of tropical forests and other forest areas in developing countries.

a) While there has not yet been a relinquishment of claims by commercial creditor banks, banks should actively examine the potential of debt-for-nature swaps in lieu of complete or partial write-offs which might be contemplated for the future. The country concerned would undertake to set aside a well-defined area of forest land and to use the local currency proceeds from such debt conversion to improve conservation and forest management. Such trade-off could not only have beneficial effects for debtor countries and the forests, but also for the image of the banks who would be seen as direct contributors to ecological preservation;

b) Creditor Governments, who have already cancelled outstanding debt to several Governments, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and other least developed countries, should seek through the Paris Club commitments to preserve forests before the announcement of further cancellations or agreement to debt relief packages through rescheduling;

c) International and national aid agencies as well as non-governmental organizations should consider purchasing (discounted) Government debt notes on secondary markets and subsequently arrange with the Government the cancellation of the nominal debt in exchange for practical ecological forestry conservation.


12. Population levels exceed the sustainable capacity of land and are a major contributing cause of deforestation in many developing countries. Yet, given the population projections for the next decades the largest pressures lie still ahead. Therefore, developing countries should urgently adopt effective policies aimed at more rapidly slowing down the current high rates of population growth, especially in view of the effects of a growing population and their pattern of settlement on food, housing requirements and energy (80% drawn from fuelwood). It should be borne in mind that even if population growth rates were to continue to fall in the near future, the population of many developing countries would triple or quadruple and would thus immensely strain their natural resources and agricultural production.

To help accomplish this modest goal, international population assistance programmes (organizations of the UN system like UNFPA and international non-governmental organizations like IPPF) should be expanded and receive increased financial support from industrialized countries. The World Bank and similar lending institutions should accord higher priority to population and family planning assistance.


13. The rising concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere could be tempered through an expansion of the forest areas in middle-altitude/temperate regions, utilizing current agricultural farmland. This may be accomplished by regions, utilizing current agricultural farmland. This may also be accomplished by direct financial incentives, e.g. by revising the current agricultural price guarantee schemes of the European Community to include reforestation activities. The conversion of non-forest land into forests should therefore be pursued with determination. In the process, some millions of hectares of new forest might be gained between 1990 and the year 2000.

14. Moreover; Governments, international organizations, the private sector and the scientific community should formulate and commit themselves to the full implementation of a comprehensive forestry action plan to reduce significantly environmental degradation and forest damage caused by long-range transport of air pollutants. This action plan should:

a) set standards for strict controls and monitoring of air pollution;

b) contain an analysis of the consequences of transboundary pollution;

c) Provide guidance for reforestation programmes and future management of forest resources;

d) integrate wood and non-wood benefits, to the extent possible in quantified terms.

15. Member countries of the European Communities and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance should conclude agreements regulating and limiting the use of fossil fuels in energy plants and emissions. Such agreements could serve as a model for other such agreements.

16. In Europe, the creation of a permanent Forum for Natural Forests Protection should be pursued. This Forum should serve to:

  • identify areas of acute concern;
  • foster exchange of information on all aspects of ecological developments and socio-economic consequences;
  • identify possibilities for the harmonization of national legislation;
  • encourage the transfer of technology related to environment matters;
  • devise appropriate economic incentive structures and schemes;
  • induce mobilization of NGO's and other communities at the grass root levels:
  • make recommendations to Governments and Parliaments for necessary action.

Member of the Forum could be selected by participating governments, deputized by parliaments, Chambers of Commerce, Academies of Science and recognized by NGO's.

The InterAction Council is invited by the Polish authorities to co-sponsor a meeting at which the Forum could be initiated and preparatory activities launched.

17. While forestry is a relatively small component of the total economy (except in the Nordic countries, the United States and Canada), it may bring about dramatic changes and influence economies in a complex way which cannot be foreseen today. Thus, financial institutions, economic policy-makers and industry leaders must be more interested in the deforestation problem given the potential consequences. Companies have to begin to quantify risks, potential impact on volume and production of forest resources both on a long-and short-term basis.

18. Current methods of national accounting (GNP) do not reflect the fundamental damage to an economy incurred by depletion of forest. Instead, logging shows up only as an income source, when in reality it could be draining the economy if it is not compensated for by reforestation. The needs to be a concerted intergovernmental effort - in co-operation with the IMF - to reform methods of national accounting to reflect adequately this reality.

19. Forest companies have a responsibility to avoid extensive monocultures without appropriate mixes with less sensitive species and replacement of traditional trees. In that context, silvicultural techniques should be reviewed and plans should be elaborated on an interdisciplinary basis.

20. There is also a need to regulate the further expansion of resort industries, especially for skiing, to protect the alpine forests.


21. All Governments should agree on an international target to set aside, up to the year 2000, a specific amount of resources, representing maybe a portion of total costs required for the regeneration of forests. These funds should be devoted to reforestation, other concrete forestry projects and educational programmes.

22. To raise the awareness of decision-makers and to prepare the ground for action a number of supportive steps could be initiated at the political level:

a) Each country and/or region should organize workshops for politicians, scientists, business leaders and representatives of non-governmental organizations on the causes and effects of deforestation, so as to sensitize decision-makers and prepare the ground for concrete action;

b) The leaders of developing countries should be encouraged to hold a summit on tropical deforestation. Such an event would offer an opportunity to demonstrate the central contribution of forestry to the well-being of national economies with the anticipated effect that the relative priority accorded to forest conservation and management in overall national plans might subsequently be upgraded.


23. To supplement the various measures proposed, Governments should launch the negotiation and adoption of a number of international instruments to codify globally the concern, objectives and measures pursued nationally or regionally, taking into account the successful experience with the conclusion of the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol on the Protection of the Ozone Layer:

a) an International Convention on Climate Stability;

b) a Global Convention on Tropical Forests, which could, among others, provide for restrictions on the trade of forest and mineral products, if their exploitation would result in large-scale destruction of tropical forests;

c) an International Convention on the Protection of Biological Diversity.

The process leading to such conventions should involve economic and scientific workshops (to provide for interaction among policy makers and experts), and be supported by a public information programme.




5 to 7 June 1989

At the invitation of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the InterAction Council, 30 scientists, politicians, representatives of governments and international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations representing 12 countries, reviewed from 5 to 7 June 1989 in Cracow, Poland, the current state of forests in Europe. They agreed unanimously on the creation of


1. Forests in Europe play a significant economic, ecological and recreational role. However, throughout Europe - be in Central, Northern, Eastern and Southern Europe - large parts of forests and their ecosystems are in serious jeopardy. The decline of forests is attributable to a variety of different factors. While the awareness of and concern with this development has sharpened among both the public and policy-makers since over a decade, the corrective action taken has been insufficient or ineffective. The ecological and economic deterioration has not only continued unabated, but the visible and discernible loss has accelerated. Statistics reveal alarming trends, but even they cannot adequately express the stark reality of dead and declining forests now evident over vast stretches of Central Europe. Thousands of hectares of forests have degraded causing soil erosion in the process. Political leaders should be encouraged to view personally such areas of devastation to comprehend fully the extent of the problem and its consequences.

2. Scientists predict that the last decade of this century will witness a further aggravation of the decline process, involving a die-back of trees at a massive scale, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, unless effective and sustained action is taken now within a co-ordinated and collective framework.

3. The causes of forest decline are manifold and differ from region to region. In Central and Northern Europe air pollution -both domestic and transboundary - bring about acidification and increasing depositions of sulphur, nitrogen and other pollutants and an increased presence of heavy metals which in addition poses hazards to human health and other biological life. In Southern Europe, most damage results from forest fires triggered by socio-economic factors, economic development and an accumulation of combustible surface deposits of prevailing tree species. Other factors accelerating the forest decline are pests, diseases, droughts and storm damage, just to name a few. The destruction of the ozone layer and global climate change are expected to accentuate further the adverse health of the forests.

4. Air pollution, consisting of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other pollutants commonly known as "acid rain", remains the principal cause of damage and must, therefore, be the central focus of action. Air pollution is essentially a result of industrial activity and the current pattern of energy use and production; power plants operate almost exclusively with fossil fuels, in particular coal. Airborne pollutants travel vast distances across the continent, without regard to national frontiers and their trajectory is influenced mainly by prevailing wind directions.

5. A number of measures to combat acid rain have already been taken by individual countries or in concert with other countries leading to tangible improvements occurred. More needs however to be done. In particular, more countries should adopt similar effective policies and existing international agreements should be strengthened and fully implemented. In particular, emission standards agreed a few years ago are now considered to be inadequate; levels of critical loads of depositions will have to be redefined in the light of recent research so as to meet the challenge and prevent further and rapid forest decline. Technologies are already available to tackle the problem and there can, thus, be nos justification for continued procrastination.

6. All countries have contributed to the creation of the problem of forest decline at its present scale and it is, therefore, equally incumbent upon all countries to devise, without delay, a joint co-operative programme of action and to mobilize their collective human, technological and financial resources to address the forest decline issue. Such a programme should integrate short, medium- and long-term strategies and must be guided by the need to secure environmentally sustainable development by preserving the ecological integrity of our ecosystem through the maintenance of regenerative, productive and assimilative capacities. The programme should also cover the need for improved forest technologies and forest management, especially reforestation and rehabilitation programmes which may even take longer time than the overall deterioration process. Experience to date shows that the lead time available to recognize serious forest decline is very short. Visible signs of deteriorations are evident only following decades of exposure to pollutants' stress. It may even take a longer time period for corrective measures to produce tangible effects.

7. Reafforestation measures and the utilization of more resilient species may be useful in the short term to preserve the aesthetical values of forests and to prevent soil erosion, but they may only be able to defer but not to avoid the ultimate collapse of many forests and their ecosystems. The proposed comprehensive action plan for European forest protection and development should, therefore, set out what specific actions are recommended at the national and the international levels. This action plan should include indications of the source and magnitude of emissions causing forest damages, their reduction and recommendations on the financing of emission abatement. Further, the plan should address the need to preserve the biological diversity of species and genes.

8. Forests have a significant economic relevance which is often overlooked. It is high time that all economic benefits of forests and the direct and indirect costs of forest decline be quantified and be made available to political decision-makers. The staggering economic losses and recovery costs already associated with forest decline are demonstrably higher than the costs that would have to be incurred for a comprehensive clean-up programme. Billions of dollars of investments in the forest industry, undertaken to foster economic development and the creation of employment, are at stake.

9. The global warming process is likely to accelerate the forest decline in some parts of Europe. However, the emerging political consensus to combat global warming should also have beneficial effects for forest protection policies, since the use of fossil fuels is the single most contributing factor to both issues.

10. Our present pattern of energy consumption and production relies heavily on the industrial and domestic burning of fossil fuels, i.e. coal, oil and gas, which produce carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2, in turn, accumulates in the atmosphere and is a major factor contributing to the greenhouse effect whereby heat is trapped and reflected back to the surface of the earth, resulting in increased average global temperature levels. The main surface of the earth, resulting in increased average global temperature levels. The main component of acid rain, i.e. sulphur dioxide and NOx, are the products of burning fuels. This includes coal-based power plants, which are the predominant type in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as combustion engines, industrial manufacturing and the use of nitrogen fertilizers for agriculture. For the sake of stabilizing the CO2 content of the atmosphere and reducing the incidence of acid rain, it is, therefore, indispensable that a deliberate and massive programme be launched to develop appropriate and renewable alternative energies capable of replacing gradually the current dependence on and domination of fossil fuels. This transition to a new energy economy may take well into the next century. In the meantime determined efforts should be made to increase the efficiency of coal power plants and domestic heating, including their retrofitting and the installation of pollution abatement technologies, and to promote the efficiency of energy use and conservation measures, with a view to curbing the increase in energy demand.

11. In the formulation of strategies and policies to resolve the described problems, both the scientific and the policy communities must co-operate closely and stimulate each other. International scientific co-operation, including joint projects and mutual assistance, will be of crucial importance and should be intensified so as to establish a high degree of common understanding and agreement about all the facts and phenomena which in turn will lay the foundation for the development of cohesive and effective policies and action plans. To that end, all data collected by individual countries will have to be standardized in order to ensure comparability. This will require the availability of compatible technology and equipment throughout Europe. Where necessary, such investments may require innovative financing approaches and modalities by bi- and multilateral assistance programmes and the private banking sector.

12. The valuable contribution of various international organizations and earlier conferences dealing with forests should be a point of departure for future activities. In view of the complex nature of the forest decline problem and the urgency of formulating effective programmes and policies, the Cracow meeting agreed that a European Forum for Forest Protection be established. Its tasks should comprise to:

a) monitor developments affecting forests in Europe;

b) identify areas of acute concern;

c) foster exchange of information on all aspects of the socio-economic consequences of ecological developments as well as the ecological consequences of socio-economic consequences;

d) identify possibilities for the establishment of European-wide compatible national pollution standards and related policies;

e) suggest modalities for the transfer of technology related to environmental problems;

f) mobilize the contribution of the private sector and NGOs;

g) suggest appropriate international arrangements and instruments to address priority issues on a short, medium and long term basis; and

h) make recommendations to governments, parliaments and international organizations.

13. The Forum should include national policy-makers, leading scientists, representatives of national and international non-governmental organizations, industry, financial institutions and international and regional organizations. In the various activities envisaged for the European Forum, all European countries should be involved. There may also be observer participants from countries outside Europe.

14. The first meeting of the Forum will be held in 1990 in Sweden at the invitation of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry and will thereafter convene regularly to discuss agreed priority issues from among its terms of reference or other newly emerging issues of a pressing nature. An international steering committee will be formed to undertake all necessary preparations, including the formulation of the agenda and extending invitations.

15. As a further immediate step to protect forests, the participants in the Cracow meeting call on Governments to provide the necessary leadership and to conclude as early as possible binding international agreements setting effective emission standards; providing for compatible minimum requirements in national policies and legislation affecting the forests, including commitments to achieve specific emissions reductions as well as monitoring and enforcement mechanisms; and facilitating the transfer of environmental technology including the provision of finance by bilateral and multilateral agencies, to allow for the speeding procurement and installation of necessary equipment.

16. Present national and international institutions and mechanisms are not adequate to respond with the necessary speed to the task at hand. We, therefore, challenge concerned governments in Europe to take the initiative and launch without delay the process toward the conclusion of such agreements by convening appropriate meetings. Arrangements on a bilateral basis or involving only a few partner countries may very well precede more comprehensive international agreements. In harmonizing the standards for its single common market by the end of 1992, the European Community will shoulder a heavy responsibility with consequences for the entire continent, since its member countries are among the major generators of transboundary air pollution. The member countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) are encouraged to move, on a priority basis, toward the adoption of complementary similarly binding policies. Other countries should follow in that direction.

17. Finally, effective action in Europe to conserve forests is bound to send a positive signal to other regions of the world, especially to developing countries, and may encourage them to take complementary action, especially as regards the preservation of tropical forests. It will be seen as a direct contribution to the stabilization of the global climate as the prevention of further forest decline, as the eventual expansion of total forest area in Europe will facilitate the absorption of larger amounts of CO2 which otherwise would stay in the atmosphere and aggravate global warming.

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18. The participants in the Cracow meeting extend their profound gratitude to the Polish authorities and in particular the Polish Academy of Sciences for the invitation to this meeting and for the excellent arrangements made. They express their particular appreciation to the Polish Forest Service for the impressive tour it organized to areas in Silesia affected by dramatic forest decline. Appreciation is further extended to the InterAction Council, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Government of the Netherlands, all of which have extended welcome financial support to this meeting.

19. The papers presented at the Cracow meeting will be published in a volume which shall be part of the background documentation for the first meeting of the European Forum for Forest Protection to be convened in 1990 in Sweden.