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Forests 2012, 3(3), 467-505; doi:10.3390/f3030467

Regulating the Sustainability of Forest Management in the Americas: Cross-Country Comparisons of Forest Legislation

1,* , 2
1 US Forest Service, 920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 300, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA 2 Departamento de Geografía, Universidad de la República, Iguá 4225, Montevideo, CP 11400, Uruguay 3 Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, 2800 Faucette Drive, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA 4 EEA Concordia, INTA, CC 34, Concordia, Entre Rios, 3200, Argentina 5 Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y Recursos Naturales, Instituto de Silvicultura, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia, Chile 6 Departamento de Engenharia Florestal, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, Minas Gerais 36570-000, Brasil 7 Avenida Joaquim Lopes de Faria 473 apto 201, Santo Antônio, Viçosa, Minas Gerais 36570-000, Brasil 8 Forest Policy Consultant, 3920 Wentworth Drive, Durham, NC 27707, USA 9 Departamento de Silvicultura y Ordenación Forestal, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Asunción, San Lorenzo, Paraguay
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 May 2012 / Revised: 12 June 2012 / Accepted: 18 June 2012 / Published: 6 July 2012
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Based on theoretical underpinnings and an empirical review of forest laws and regulations of selected countries throughout the Americas, we examine key components of natural forest management and how they are addressed in the legal frameworks of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay, and the U.S. We consider forest policy directives in terms of legislative, planning, operational, environmental/ecological, social, and economic aspects and classify them by the type of policy obligation: (1) non-discretionary laws or rules; or (2) discretionary, voluntary directives; and, further, by the type of policy approach: (1) a specific technology or practice required or recommended; (2) a process or system requirement or recommendation; or (3) a performance or outcome based requirement or recommendation. Protection of at-risk species and riparian buffers are required in all countries and include specific prescriptions in most; forest management planning and secure, legal land title or tenancy are commonly required; and mandatory processes to protect soil and water quality are customary. Less common requirements include forest monitoring and social and economic aspects, and, when in place, they are usually voluntary. Implications for improved policies to achieve sustainable forest management (SFM) are discussed.
Keywords: forest regulation; sustainable forest management policy; Latin America; North America forest regulation; sustainable forest management policy; Latin America; North America
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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McGinley, K.; Alvarado, R.; Cubbage, F.; Diaz, D.; Donoso, P.J.; Jacovine, L.A.G.; de Silva, F.L.; MacIntyre, C.; Zalazar, E.M. Regulating the Sustainability of Forest Management in the Americas: Cross-Country Comparisons of Forest Legislation. Forests 2012, 3, 467-505.

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