The Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Government of Indonesia co-hosted a policy dialogue on science, forests and sustainability in Indonesia from 10-16 December 1994. The dialogue brought together 50 scientists, key persons from the post-Rio forest initiatives, and representatives from NGOs, industry, government and development agencies. The primary objective was to review the results of the various forest initiatives, determine if they adequately incorporate the latest scientific information and determine their implications for future research and information needs. Participants agreed that the challenge for forest research is to provide knowledge and information to assist decision making that will sustain and enhance the benefits of forests to all people, including future generations. Participants concluded that forest research must be broader and more holistic.
The group identified a series of urgent research priorities that include: criteria and indicators for the assessment and prediction of impacts of management, conservation and sustainable development of forests; linkages between trees and forest ecosystems and the general health of the environment, including the impact of human activities; periodic measurement and assessment of the state of forests, which requires standardized techniques and methodologies and means to share the information; reliable methodologies and mechanisms for assessing the contribution of forests to sustainable national development; documentation on the role of local communities in maintaining healthy forests; and the impact of forest management on biological diversity. The meeting produced a resolution and a report, "Forest Research: A Way Forward to Sustainable Development," which will be forwarded to the FAO/COFO and the CSD. Participants also agreed that forest science should be reoriented to provide more complete information for decision makers to better sustain and enhance the benefits and conservation of forests.