On laws regulating the modern-day wood butcher
(Second of two parts)
Under the Forestry Reform Code, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Forest Management Bureau (FMB) shall conduct a program of progressive inventories of the harvestable timber and young trees in all forest lands, whether covered by any license agreement, license, lease or permit, until a 100 percent timber inventory thereon has been achieved.
Nevertheless, the harvest of timber in any forest shall only be allowed when it is the subject of at least a 5 percent timber inventory or any statistically sound timber estimate, made not earlier than five years before the issuance of the corresponding license agreement or license.
Moreover, the FMB is authorized to apply scientific cutting cycle and rotation in all forest lands, upon considering the age, volume, and kind of healthy residual trees which may be left undisturbed and undamaged for future harvest and forest cover indipterocarp area, and seed trees and reproduction in pine area.
Meanwhile, in accordance with public interest and the sustained yield principle under the Code, FMB shall review all existing annual allowable cut and prescribe the level thereof for the common dipterocarp timber, softwood and hardwood timber cutting of which is not prohibited, pulpwood, firewood and other forest products.
In this regard, the annual allowable cut or harvest of any particular forest land under a license agreement, license, permit or lease shall be determined based on the size of the area, the volume and kind of harvestable timber or forest products and healthy residuals, seed trees, and reproduction found therein, and the established cutting cycle and rotation thereof. Likewise, in making said review, FMB shall consider updated aerial photographs and field inventories of the concerned forest land.
Pending the completion of such review and appropriate amendment of the annual allowable cut in the existing license agreement, license, lease or permit, existing annual allowable cut that sufficiently supports wood or forest products processing plants or that will support duly approved processing expansion program or new processing projects may be allowed to continue without change. But, the annual allowable cut shall not be adjusted until after such review.
The duration of the privilege to harvest timber in any particular forest land under a license agreement or license shall be fixed and determined in accordance with the annual allowable cut therein, the established cutting cycle thereof, the yield capacity of harvestable timber and the capacity of healthy residuals for a second growth.
The period for exercising this privilege shall not exceed 25 years, which, however, may be renewed for another period not exceeding 25 years, which is necessary to utilize all the remaining commercial quantity or harvestable timber either from the unlogged or logged-over area.
Meanwhile, this privilege shall automatically terminate, even before the expiry of the license agreement or license, once the harvestable timber has been utilized without leaving any logged-over area capable of commercial utilization. Moreover, it is subject to the condition that the licensee shall reforest the areas as may be determined by FMB.
Forest lands shall not be perpetually held. Thus, the size of the forest lands which may be subject to timber utilization shall be limited to that which a person may effectively utilize and develop for 50 years, considering the cutting cycle, past performance of the applicant and his capacity to utilize and, more importantly, protect and manage the whole area, and the requirements of processing plants existing or to be installed in the region.
Forest concessions which had been the subject of consolidations shall be reviewed for the effective implementation of protection, reforestation and management thereof under the multiple use and sustained yield concepts, and for the processing locally of the timber resources therefrom.
Meanwhile, the expansion and integration of existing wood or forest products processing plants, as well as the establishment of new processing plants shall be encouraged. Nevertheless, their locations and operations shall be regulated in order to rationalize the entire wood-processing industry.
In this regard, these activities shall only be allowed when environmental considerations have been taken into account and adequate raw material supply on a sustained-yield basis is assured.