Cities for Forests

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Cities for forests
© WWF Bolivia
Even though natural forests are physically away from cities, there is a narrow relationship of dependence between them, since cities use the environmental services that forests provide and are big consumers of wood and other products coming from forests.

However, most citys inhabitants do not know the extraordinary value that forests hold, and moreover they do not know how forests are being affected by the wood they consume.

WWF and many other institutions have been making efforts for years to make public authorities, businesses and citizens aware, under the conviction that together we can contribute  from our routine in cities- to the sustainable use of forest resources for the benefit of future generations.

WWFs Cities for Forests initiative aims to take advantage of the power that institutions with environmental impact and public and private actors have: responsible buying power.

Responsible forest products buying is an opportunity for businesses and institutions to get actively involved in maintaining the life quality and environmental services that forests offer, acquiring wood coming from good forest management practices.

Within this context, The Municipal Government of Santa Cruz de la Sierra approved in 2007 the Administrative Resolution N� 190/2007, that establishes its Responsible Buying Policy of forest products, with the purpose of promoting within the Municipal Autonomous Government of Santa Cruz de la Sierra the consumption of forest products coming from legal sources, under good forest management and/or FSC certified, looking to contribute to the conservation of forests in the department and country.

Responsible Buying Policy

A responsible Buying Policy is one of the best mechanisms for a business or institution to get motivated ant to take into practice the purchase of products that are certified or come from forests under good management. This consists in an institutional declaration that establishes the context of reference to insert environmental criteria in the selection of wood products in a business purchasing plan. A good policy should define in a precise way all matters  related to the acquisition of forest products  that the business pretends to re-direct, identifying the source of forest products, determining what is and what is not acceptable, as well as declaring the business commitment to the responsible consumption of forest products.

Forests might be affected

Governments, businesses and citizens that purchase wood do not have the habit of verifying its source to make sure their activities do not help to damage the countrys forests. Consequently, the trade of wood products can generate negative impacts in forests, as illegal felling, over exploitation of some valuable species, deforestation and illegal trade of wood, among others.

For example, species like Mara (Swietenia macrophylla) have been considered as commercially extinct because of over exploitation, and are a part of the Apendix II of the Convention over International Trade of Threatened Fauna and Flora Species (Cites).

Illegal Felling

Illegal felling and unsustainable exploitation of forests also risk forests economical advantages. Even though illegal felling does not necessarily contribute to deforestation and degradation of forests, sounds logical that illegality implies a bad management. This kind of crime is not only an environmental issue. Human communities are also severely affected due to loss of natural resources coming from forests, and, sometimes, use of intimidation and violence.

Global trade of illegally extracted wood is a business that moves large quantities of money. The World Bank estimates that illegal felling has as a consequence losses of 10.000 million Euros a year to producer countries

Source: http://www.wwf.es/que_hacemos/bosques/problemas/talas_ilegales/index.cfm

After the degradation of forests and the disappearance of species with economic value, the expansion of agricultural boundaries through taking apart mountains and using fire is usual.

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