ITTO Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests: 2. Policy and Legislation


ITTO Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests

2. Policy and Legislation

Policy Development

Principle 1

The successful implementation of a policy to protect tropical forests against fire is highly dependent upon broad-based support from all sectors of society, particularly civic organizations and groups working with the responsible government authorities on a voluntary basis, and must be supported by appropriate legislation which is in harmony with laws concerning related issues.

Recommended Action 1

  1. Identify local communities, concession holders, timber companies, contractors, conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs), women’s groups, and other voluntary organizations to assess their interest and capacity to forge partnerships with government authorities in fire management programs. Where necessary, assistance will be provided by government authorities in the development of such organizations.

  2. A national fire policy forming an integral part of the national land use policy, and assuring sustainable forest management, should be formulated and accepted by all relevant parties, including government, local communities, and the private sector.

  3. Establish, and effectively staff and fund, a decentralized national agency, or strengthen an existing institution responsible for the establishment and implementation of an effective fire policy.

  4. Enact and/or revise national and local laws and regulations regarding the proper use of fire to ensure the effective implementation of fire management policies.

  5. Create a system of incentives and sanctions which will encourage responsible use of fire at all levels, including timber felling and sawmilling.

Principle 2

National parks, national forests, and equivalent reserves protect important and unique representative samples of tropical forest ecosystems as part of the world’s natural heritage. These conservation units can be damaged by wildfires which are usually caused by the activities of rural populations.

Recommended Action 2

  1. In a national system for fire management, the protection of conservation areas should be considered a priority.

  2. Develop fire protection plans for forest lands with high conservation values.




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