China's forest tenure reform good example: report

13:07, January 22, 2010      

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As pressure to preserve the world's precious forest resources is growing, China's forest tenure reform in recent years serves as a good example for other countries, said an international research report released here Friday.

The report, published by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a global coalition of top forest organizations, referred to the tenure reform in China as "arguably the largest in world history:" It has affected over 400 million landowners and 100 million hectares of forest and benefited farmers' income and afforestation.

Entitled "The End of the Hinterland: Forests, Conflict and Climate Change," the report argued that despite being long regarded as remote areas, forest lands that can generate food, fuel, fiber and carbon are now booming in value.

But profit may threaten forest lands and its inhabitants, and conflicts have occurred occasionally due to unclear land rights in some countries. In 2009, a violent clash over rights to resources in Amazon forests left nearly 100 dead.

But China's forest lands reform, started in the early 2000s, allowed collective forest owners to reallocate their land-use rights to households or to keep them as a collective, the report said.

Andy White, RRI coordinator and a major initiator of the report, told Xinhua that he had conducted field research with his Chinese counterparts, and found the reform had generated positive results.

"China's experiences with reform offer important lessons for other countries now considering the recognition of collective land rights," he said.

The report also called for better implementation of the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation mechanism (REDD), a framework expected to provide low-cost and easy emissions reductions for developed countries, and financing for developing, forest-rich countries.

The REDD was one of the few points of consensus in the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009. Yet negotiators at the summit failed to agree on legal standards and safeguards for the scheme.

Source: Xinhua
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