EEPC and Rights and Resources Group have jointly organized a US study tour for the delegation of the Chinese Society of Forestry Economics (CSFE) from April 29 to May 6, 2012.
The objective of this study tour was designed to examine options for public forest reform and to learn from lessons from the American experience.
The delegation of study group consisted of President of CSFE and Director General of Forestry Economics Development and Research Center (FEDRC) of State Forestry Administration, Vice President of CSFE and Dean of College of Economics and Management of Beijing Forestry University, Vice President of CSFE and Dean of School of Economics and Management of Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Head of Administration of CSFE, and Vice President of CSFE and Director of Environmental Management of Peking University.
On April 30th, the delegation has met senior officials at the Agriculture and Rural Development Department and the PROFOR Programme of the World Bank. The roundtable discussion covered tenure and property rights issues in China’s forest sector reforms, regarding collective and state forest areas; relationship between China’s timber markets and international timber markets, as well as development trends; forest certification system and its development in China; and experiences from Russian, Eastern European countries, and Central European countries on reforming their public forests.
Starting from May 1st, the delegation visited Montana, meeting with the officials of State Forest Services and Federal Forest Services and listening to their presentations on: overview on public land management in the United States, private lands and forest enterprises, local community forest governance and regulation, state trust land and management, the role of NGOs in public-private management and transfers of ownership, and on tribal history and forest governance of indigenous people. The study group also visited a community-based lumber company and discussed with a forester representative on forest governance from an industry perspective. Their discussions were centered on the ecological, economical, and social functions of forests, and how to integrate central and local governments, enterprises, communities, and individuals, and all stakeholders in forest management.
This one-week study tour is a great success in learning international lessons on public forest management, exchanging the Chinese experiences with their American counterparts, and seeking for mutual work coping with similar and potential issues and challenges that both China and United States are facing with in the near future.