Forest Vocation Lands and Forest Policy: When Simpler is Better

Dec 2005
This paper addresses forest policies concerned with the adequate provision of forest related externalities. Despite the use of the forest vocation land (FVL) in the legislation of many Latin American countries, the discussion in the scientific literature about forest policies based on it is modest. This paper seeks to contribute to this debate. The paper presents facts, defines concepts, examines analytical frameworks, and investigates policy alternatives related to these externalities in private lands. The paper concludes that FVL is a useful model for the design of forest policies that seek to assure the provision of forest related externalities. Such policies are: especially adequate for developing countries because they are relatively easy to understand; are less intrusive in the forest business decision making processes and, thereby, allow for greater freedom of action; are less costly to monitor, enforce, and comply with; reduce corruptive activities and illegality associated with forests; and do not require adjustments as technologies and market conditions change.