The survival of humankind depends on the appropriate functioning of natural ecosystems, including forests, in both the near and distant future. Forests are the evolutionary home for the evolutionary heritage of the majority species on Earth. Saving this heritage is the only people will be able to face their future with dignity.
Although the signatories of this Forest Charter are convinced that all living beings on Earth are equal to one another and humankind represents just a thread in the biodiversity network, they appreciate that, at the same time, forests provide us with numerous services and are also sources of wood that is used both as fuel and materials for building as well as sources of medicines - all of which create the basis of human economy. In addition, forests are sources of cultural and spiritual values that enrich human society.
Thus, we need forests; forests do not need us.
In the last few centuries, people have eliminated, degraded, and destroyed forest ecosystems by increasing their exploitation of forests. In the coming decades, thousands of species dependent on forests will face extinction, and we humans may well be among them.
Taking these facts into account, signatories of the Charter recognize the need to change the approach of forest managers as well as common consumers towards forest ecosystems. Forest management must imitate natural forest processes, and Nature must have the leading position in forest management.
At present, people's knowledge of forests is very limited. We do not recognize the majority of connections in any forest ecosystems. It is thus necessary to create extensive systems of forest reserves and thus prevent irreversible losses due to improper forest management.
Forests are complexes of many living organisms, which depend on one another at various levels, from microscopic to global. These complexes maintain and stabilize the forest as a whole, not just some of its products. A forest is not, therefore, optimized through wood production, but through its own stability. People must respect this basic forest function in their approach towards forests.
Role of this document
The Forest Charter serves as a document that specifies, according to signatories, the direction in which, people's approach towards forests and forest management must proceed if we respect what was is stated in the Charter's preamble. The Forest Charter is a document that is designed to serve not only forestry experts. Current forestry terminology does not allow us to explain our vision and ideas on sustainable forests in a simple way due to differences between our vocabulary and that of foresters. Thus, signatories of the Forest Charter elaborated this document, explaining our attitudes by using a simpler vocabulary as a contribution to the search for ways to save forest ecosystems.