The Economics of Reduced Impact Logging in the American Tropics: A Review of Recent Initiatives
Programs aimed at developing and implementing reduced-impact logging (RIL) techniques are currently underway in important forest regions of Latin America, given the importance of timber production in the American tropics to national and global markets. RIL efforts focus upon planning and extraction methods which lessen harvest impact on residual commercial timber stocks, forest soils and vegetation, and ecological functions. Although the ecological benefit of RIL practices are widely acknowledged, forest management actions are commonly guided by policy constraints and economic decision-making which preclude the adoption of more conservative RIL practices. A review of forest management projects in Central and South America illustrates the ecological and economic benefits of RIL as well as constraints to greater adoption of RIL in forest management activities in the American tropics.