Aurelija Pūraitė


The world's forests are one of the most important ecosystems sustaining the whole global environment. Their biological diversity distinguishes as the most heterogeneous and versatile. As the World Bank notices, nearly 90 percent of terrestrial biodiversity is found in the world’s forests, with a disproportionate share in the forests of developing countries. From one hand, forests are important in many different areas – they provide climate regulation, protection of soil, ensure the recovery of water resources, their ecosystems create a living surrounding for billions of species, forest products are essential to existence of more than billion people. Forest resources directly contribute to the livelihoods of 90 percent of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty and indirectly support the natural environment that nourishes agriculture and the food supplies of nearly half the population of the developing world. On the other hand, the world's forests are also under enormous pressure: from conversation to agricultural and other uses, from illegal and unsustainable harvesting of forest products and from climate change. It could seem unbelievable, but the worldwide problem of degradation of the world's forest has became a focus of international environmental law only a few decades ago. The deforestation began to attract the attention of international society only after the first intimidated studies reflecting the situation were presented. They disclosed tremendous facts about rising problems in the field of forests' protection, as many factors may be presumed as a threat to forest ecosystems; those threats are diverse and include different aspects of human activity (population growth, measures for poverty reduction, industrial activities, road construction, consumption, agriculture, usage of forest products, etc.) and environmental situation (climate change, acid rain, ozone depletion, toxic chemicals, water reduction) of the world in general. The protection of forests is a very precise example of conflicting interests between environmental issues and economic, industrial, political, social ones. Global environmental forest policies most clearly disclose the tension between the needs of developed countries and developing ones, between environment protection and development processes, between need to preserve and sustain nature and degradation of poverty. Understanding of those phenomenons may explain the present situation in the legislation of international legal documents regarding forest protection. Although the twentieth century has brought the tremendous development of multilateral or global agreements regarding global environmental challenges, and the growth of the number of multilateral environmental agreements, as well as the
scope of covered by them issues, is dramatic, however there is no binding global agreement on forest protection, conservation and management. The specific feature of international legal instruments in the field of forest protection is their non – binding nature, and this circumstance is worth of a deep and more precise analysis. The object of the research is the system of international legal instruments that have impact in international environmental law of forest protection. The objective of this research therefore is to disclose the system of international legal instruments that have impact in international environmental law of forest protection, to analyze the most important reasons that influenced the formation of this system, and to reveal the peculiarities of the system.