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World Bank Indonesia
Since the Bali UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP13), Indonesia has made climate change action a priority. In May 2010, Indonesia agreed with Norway on a path-breaking, performance-based initiative for action on REDD+. In January 2011, the Government of Indonesia identified two provinces that will pilot the REDD+ partnership agreement with Norway. However, much remains to be done to prepare sub-national financing instruments that transmit incentives from international REDD+ funding sources to regional and local levels. Financing mechanisms will need to be in place for programmatic activities as well as for project type approaches, and appropriate methodologies for disbursement of benefits and carbon accounting will need to be developed. Importantly, the design of financing mechanisms needs to fulfill requirements for efficiency, equity and effectiveness, and needs to fit into the national and sub-national institutional and legal framework.
This activity drew on the existing international body of knowledge regarding Payments for Ecosystem Services, REDD+ financing, transfers, and benefit sharing both internationally and in Indonesia. Combined with an analysis of current fiscal mechanisms in Indonesia and lessons from REDD+ demonstration activities, the synthesis provided lessons that are relevant for developing an Indonesian REDD+ financing architecture -- and for developing REDD+ financing mechanisms in other countries.
Policy briefs were developed in presentation format on issues related to financing mechanisms and shared with key REDD+ stakeholders and policy makers in Indonesia (some of the presentations are available on this page). Background papers were developed on PES as a Mechanism for REDD+ Benefit Sharing in Indonesia; Green PNPM as a REDD+ Benefit Sharing Mechanism in Indonesia; and The Role of Small Grants Programs in REDD+ Readiness and Implementation. These were consolidated into a single report that underwent World Bank peer and virtual review in September 2012 and is available as a working paper on this page: Integrating Communities into REDD+ in Indonesia.
Author : World Bank Indonesia
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
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World Bank Latin America and Caribbean Region, Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF)
Chile is one of the most developed countries in the southern hemisphere and relies heavily on its natural resource base for employment and exports. Yet, despite its natural assets and economic prowess, the country is plagued by serious land degradation problems including desertification, accelerated soil erosion, and forest degradation. In addition, climate change is exacerbating land degradation through changes in rainfall quantity and regimen, and the melting of glaciers, which are critical for the country’s water supply.
An astounding two-thirds of the national territory (48 million ha) are affected or threatened by desertification and drought (CONAF 2006). Of the 1.3 million people inhabiting these areas, about 60 percent live in poverty. The main causes of desertification and land degradation in Chile are due to overgrazing, farming on marginal lands without conservation practices, and over-exploitation or poor management of forests. In fact, about half of Chile’s 15.4 million ha of forests are already degraded. Forest degradation is advancing at about 77,000 ha annually, and occurs mainly in the southern forests, where fuelwood extraction is a major contributor to the problem. Despite this alarming situation, there is only an emerging awareness regarding the degradation issues, and the country has yet to make significant advances to counter land and forest degradation. Urgent steps are needed to align country policies and programs to tackle the problem, provide technical guidance to field workers and heighten awareness nationwide.
The main objective of this activity is to provide state-of-the-art knowledge to the Chilean Government and other stakeholders on best practices and guidance for restoration of degraded lands through forestry applications suitable in the Chilean context.
This knowledge activity supported by PROFOR would include:
- a review of the many pilots and ad hoc experiences in Chile to restore degraded lands through forestry (including economic, social and environmental benefits);
- an analysis of the investment returns of select experiences, to demonstrate that the reversal of land degradation, climate change mitigation and the generation of income can be achieved simultaneously under specific conditions;
- a projection of the carbon sequestration potential for afforestation and reforestation of degraded lands in appropriate areas throughout Chile;
- a proposal for a monitoring system that would track desertification and progress in remedial efforts to address land degradation;
- outreach and awareness building activities on the scope and impact of land degradation and remedial measures needed to slow its advance, especially those related to forests and trees.
Author : World Bank Latin America and Caribbean Region, Corporación Nacional Forestal
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
Photo: Shutterstock / Nico Jacobs
This blog by Karin Erika Kemper was originally published on Development and a Changing Climate
Across the globe, wildfire seasons are becoming longer and harsher, and the frequency, intensity and magnitude of extreme wildfires is increasing . The 2020 wildfire season is now on the horizon, and, given the driest summer in Latin America in 14 years, promises to be devastating. In addition, wildfires will be another burden for countries to contend with as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
"In 2019 alone, the Global Forest Watch counted over 4.5 million fires worldwide that were larger than one square kilometer."
In 2019 alone, the Global Forest Watch counted over 4.5 million fires worldwide that were larger than one square kilometer. These fires spanned the Amazon, Alaska, Australia, California, Europe, Indonesia and Russia – ravaging ecosystems, communities and economies. What’s more, wildfires destroy habitat, forcing wild animals to flee forest areas and risking increased contact with people and domesticated animals that could lead to the transmission of diseases like COVID-19.
Figure 1 - Global Changes in the Frequency of Long Fire Weather Seasons Over 1979-2013 Due to Climate. Reds indicate areas where fire weather seasons have lengthened or long fire weather seasons have become more frequent. Blues indicate areas where fire weather seasons have shortened or long fire weather seasons have become less frequent. Source: Jolly et al. 2015 in IUFRO 2019
Interestingly, less than 10% of wildfires result in more than 90% of the total area burned annually. These destructive events are known as “extreme wildfires” – fires that exceed humanity’s ability to control and suppress them. For the most part, such extreme wildfires are the result of policy, planning and governance decisions related to land use, coupled with demographic shifts and increasingly adverse weather conditions due to climate change.
So, what can governments do to avoid or mitigate such wildfires in the future?
A new World Bank policy paper Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate helps answer this question with policy recommendations that can help countries better prepare for this new, more fire-prone world. Here are five suggestions:
- Refocus land use policies and incentives for better land-use planning and management: This entails actions such as eliminating perverse incentives that encourage practices such as clearing forest land for other uses through fire; clarifying land tenure rights to reduce careless use of fire or use of fire to gain access to land; and strengthening coordination across sectors to reduce conflicting practices.
- Invest in both fire suppression and prevention: Worldwide, wildfire management is often treated as an emergency rather than part of routine landscape management. Governments thus need to balance investment in fire suppression with measures to prevent wildfires such as reducing fuel loads, restoring ecosystems to natural fire patterns, and educating fire users.
- Implement existing fire management techniques: Proven practices and tools – such as fire monitoring and early detection, fire danger rating, and asset vulnerability management such as through buffer zones and the adoption of codes and standards – should be implemented or scaled-up.
- Improve wildfire data collection and analysis: Wildfire data collection and analysis is needed to build understanding of what causes a fire and to identify gaps in prevention and response capacities. With good data, governments can review wildfire management practices to identify what works and what doesn’t.
- Strengthen stakeholder coordination and preparedness: Wildfire management and response involves many stakeholders including local communities, various levels of government, the private sector and civil society organizations. Involving all stakeholders in fire management planning helps establish clear functions, tasks and responsibilities to enable effective coordination.
While such wildfire prevention measures may get less recognition and publicity than suppression efforts, they are essential if we are to reduce the social, economic and ecological costs of extreme wildfires and meet objectives under the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the post-2020 biodiversity framework.
Last Updated : 06-15-2020
In recent years, wildfire seasons have become longer and harsher, causing significant ecological, economic and social damage. In 2019 and into 2020, fires burned across the globe—in the Amazon, Alaska, Australia, California, Europe, Indonesia and Russia—ravaging ecosystems, communities and economies.
For the most part, such extreme wildfires are the result of policy, planning and governance decisions related to land use, coupled with increasingly adverse weather conditions due to climate change. When combined, these factors create the conditions for wildfires to grow into extreme wildfires that exceed humanity’s ability to control and suppress them. The global context for wildfires is changing and countries must take more action to proactively prevent wildfires and to suppress fires when needed to prevent them from becoming extreme wildfires.
This paper takes stock of factors that contribute to extreme wildfires, including climate change, land-use change, and demographic shifts, and recommends policy actions that can be taken to improve wildfire prevention and management depending on national circumstances.
The biggest shift from the current reactive approach, which often relies on emergency response and fire suppression, is increased investment in prevention. Governments can help prevent extreme wildfires through measures such as improved land-use planning, eliminating perverse incentives for using fire to change land use, and clarifying land tenure rights. Other actions include implementing existing fire management techniques such as integrated fire management and fire danger rating, improving fire monitoring and early detection and strengthening stakeholder involvement in fire management planning.
Although investment in wildfire prevention may get less recognition than suppression efforts, it is essential if we are to reduce the social, economic and ecological costs of extreme wildfires. Such preventive and proactive wildfire management is needed if we are to support countries to end extreme poverty, increase shared prosperity, and meet their objectives under the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the post-2020 biodiversity framework.
We hope this paper provides countries with the needed policy guidance to shift their approach to one that is more effective in a changing climate.
Foreword by Karin Kemper Global Director, Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy World Bank Group
Last Updated : 05-20-2020
The development objective of this project is to improve the understanding of forest-water interactions in the Congo Basin across World Bank project teams, client countries and climate scientists in Africa, and to strategize potential application to development programs and policies in the region. The analysis seeks to use emerging data and research to identify links between forest loss and degradation and water resources in the Congo Basin in the context of climate variability, covering impacts both locally and from a regional hydrologic cycle perspective.
The Congo Basin represents roughly 70% of Africa’s forest cover and is the second largest contiguous tropical forest in the world after the Amazon Basin. The Congo Basin provides many ecosystem services (carbon and non-carbon) but the forests are under pressure from economic activity such as logging, agriculture, energy, transport, and mining, and satellite-based data show that annual rates of deforestation have doubled since 1990 (World Bank 2013). Climate change is predicted to impact the Congo Basin significantly: since the 1950's, the region has experienced a 1°C increase in mean annual temperature (Niang et al. 2014; Fuller et al. 2018); by the 2080's, climate models suggest temperatures will increase 3 to 5°C and precipitation will decrease by 40% (Fotso-Nguemo 2016).
Understanding the impacts of forest loss within the Congo Basin and regionally is limited due to limited information on the linkages between forest loss and environmental services in the Congo Basin, particularly of the role of the forest in generating rainfall both locally and regionally. While much of the research related to the impact of tropical forests on rainfall and temperature has been undertaken in the Amazon, the few studies that have been conducted in the Congo Basin indicate that the region is a major source (17%) of moisture for West Africa (Cadet and Nnolli; Gong and Eltahir). One study estimates that the rain forests of West Africa may account for 30-40% of the annual rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands (Ellison 2018). Others suggest that the main source of rainfall in the Congo Basin is evaporation from the Great Lakes and that the Congo forest basin in turn generates much of the rainfall not only in the Congo basin (75-95%) (Brinkman 1983 in Job 1994) but also in the Sahel (van der Ent et al. 2010). At the same time, the drying trend in the Basin suggested by some scientific papers (Zhou et al. 2014) may impact this “water pump” service it provides. Such impacts are well described for the Amazon, where scientists have warned of an “Amazon dieback” or “savanization” of the Amazon (Vergara and Scholz 2011).
- The activity expanded the available evidence base through the production of an innovative online, interactive e-book. This e-book/knowledge portal houses both a data and analytics portal for the Congo Basin across numerous social, economic, and environmental themes; and a knowledge portal containing relevant literature, reports, investments, videos and programs in the Congo Basin.
- Community of Practice Formed. The team held numerous consultations (both in-person and virtually) with Bank teams working within the region, relevant academic experts, donor and other organizations. The CoP distribution list developed had over 200 people and is expected to be useful for the future as well.
- Two global virtual discussions undertaken. The first discussion session was held in September 2019 with over 50 participants; a smaller, more focused session was held in December 2019 with about 20-25 participants.
Last Updated : 06-09-2020
The development objective of this activity is to increase knowledge and awareness about the impacts of forest fires in a changing climate and identify effective response strategies and actions to build the resilience of forests and communities.
Forest fires degrade forest ecosystems and impair on their capacity to serve global development and poverty reduction objectives. Substantial and rapid shifts are projected for future fire activity across vast portions of the globe, including tropical and subtropical regions. Projections suggest that wildfires will become so frequent within this century that it will reach a “new normal.” Therefore, it is important to develop a better understanding of the interactions between climate change and forest fires in terms of their scale and intensity and identify forest management options for increased resilience. This activity aims to contribute toward filling this knowledge gap by taking stock of the state of knowledge on the key issues. Several studies have already been conducted by PROFOR and other teams at the Bank to highlight the importance of preventing and managing forest fires. This activity will build on the previous work and deepen the understanding of these impacts and the type and scale of investments required to tackle this challenge.
As the main activity, a Global Expert Workshop on Forest Fires and Climate Change would be held at the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) headquarters in June 2018 in Vienna, Austria. The expert workshop would be co-hosted by IUFRO and PROFOR. It would bring together leading scientific experts; government representatives from key countries in East Asia, Africa, and Latin America; and representatives from World Bank global practices and regional units.
The expert workshop would discuss (i) the spectrum of forest fire types and their contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions; (ii) future climate change scenarios and implications for forest fire as well as related environmental, social, and economic impacts and vulnerabilities; and (iii) options for adaptation with particular emphasis on forest landscape restoration as a forest-smart solution for increasing resilience in the face of climate change. The expert workshop would also be informed of relevant findings of the Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) scientific assessment on forests and water, coordinated by IUFRO on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.
The expert workshop would result in an issue paper that comprised all the information presented during the workshop, including the main findings and conclusions, as well as a set of key messages for decision makers. The expert workshop would also identify limitations in current knowledge and outline potential future activities.
This project has been completed. The Global Expert Workshop on Forest Fires and Climate Change was conducted July 2-4 in Vienna, Austria. The three-day workshop brought together 32 scientists and governmental experts from around the globe and World Bank representatives to discuss the complex forest fire–climate change–restoration nexus.
The Occasional Paper 32 - Global Fire Challenges in a Warming World, Summary Note of a Global Expert Workshop on Fire and Climate Change, affirmed that the warming climate contributes significantly to the increase in the frequency and intensity of uncontrolled forest fires, thereby further degrading forest ecosystems and impairing their capacity to produce the forest goods and services that play an important part in global development and poverty reduction objectives. Climate change, particularly hotter and drier seasons, combined with environmental and demographic changes are exceeding traditional fire management approaches’ capacity to cope and are economically unsustainable.
The expert group concluded that fire and climate-related weather changes are strongly linked, leading to more severe fire events, and that there is a need to prepare for a “new normal” in which fires will occur outside the traditional fire seasons and risk zones, including agricultural areas. Government strategies will need to take on a different approach to effectively manage forest landscapes because this trend will only get worse.
The solution lies increasingly in more holistic land management and governance approaches including more active investments in fire prevention measures, fire-smart economic land uses, better informed and connected fire information and early warning systems, and community-based education, training, and mitigation activities in addition to traditional suppression measures.
Where tropical forests or peatlands already suffered substantial alterations, the workshop concluded that there is a need to think beyond those solutions. Restoration of ecological functions of degraded forests and peatlands, investment in fire-free perennial economic solutions in risk areas and strategic economic land uses will need to be an integral part of interventions.
Some of the presentations at the workshop, include knowledge that has informed, is informing, and will continue to inform policies, projects/ programs and data gathering/information/modelling globally.
Last Updated : 06-09-2020
The shift to a low-carbon future that includes clean technology such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and batteries will require a lot of minerals. In fact, experts predict that between now and 2050 we will need more minerals than have been produced over the past 100 years. This mineral-intensive future has implications for our forests, vital to mitigate global warming. A climate-smart mining approach that protects the world’s forests is essential to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change. Currently about 1,500 large-scale mines in the world are in tropical forests and a further 1,800 are under development or currently non-operational. More than half of these large-scale forest mines are in low- or lower-middle-income countries.
Forests provide an important carbon sink for mitigating climate change. According to the World Resources Institute, if tropical forests combined were a country, deforestation would rank third in carbon dioxide–equivalent emissions, behind China and the United States. Generically speaking, forest loss is driven by economic activity, mainly commercial and subsistence agriculture. Yet, mining plays an important, though less understood role, accounting for an estimated 7 percent of total forest loss. As the future of our planet hinges on tenths of degrees Celsius, 7 percent may well make the difference.
At a national level, mining is contributing to emissions from forest loss in numerous countries and is a dominant cause of deforestation in some. For example, in Suriname, mining is responsible for 73 percent of total deforestation, with the majority attributed to artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) for gold.
With so much at stake, the World Bank has developed what we call a forest-smart approach to mining – ensuring that this increased need for metals and minerals will not be at the expense of forests. Thus a Climate-Smart Mining approach also needs to be Forest-Smart. Three new reports released today offer solutions to address this challenge.
So, what mining takes place in forests? Many different minerals are mined in forests, with gold, iron ore, and copper most commonly mined by large-scale operators in forests. Bauxite, titanium, and nickel are the most reliant on forest-based mines, as the ores that contain them are mostly found in forest areas. All these minerals are crucial components of low-carbon technologies as well as for cell-phones and computers.
Importantly, it isn’t principally the mine itself that causes deforestation. Our research shows that a mine is often surrounded by large-scale forest losses in areas outside the mining permit area, with notable spikes in deforestation when the mines are first established. This forest loss is largely the result of new roads, railways, ports and other infrastructure built to transport extracted minerals. In addition, the development of large-scale mines in previously uninhabited or inaccessible areas attracts people looking for new economic opportunities. The settlements they establish drive forest loss due to firewood demand, wildlife poaching, agriculture expansion and ASM activities.
To address this deforestation, a forest-smart approach to mining requires strong governance to manage the development and impacts of the mining sector, protect forests on a landscape level, and recognize and protect local community tenure and rights. It also requires responsible corporate behaviour, empowered communities, and engaged civil society stakeholders.
With this in mind, we analyzed almost 30 case studies of both artisanal and small-scale mines as well as large-scale mining operations to identify best practices that can improve forest outcomes and bad practices to be avoided. The result is a large number of practical examples and a set of 14 forest-smart mining principles.
Based on our case studies, no single site, operation, company, or country is wholly forest-smart. Yet, our case studies also demonstrate that a variety of countries are implementing forest-smart practices and applying strong policies. One key finding of our work is that political will and coordination between government entities and other stakeholders is crucial for forest-smart outcomes.
In Madagascar, the establishment of coordination platforms between managers of a national park and local authorities helped to develop effective strategies to manage illegal artisanal mining in the park and improve agricultural practices to reduce pressure on forest.
In Ghana, a mining company included community stakeholders as partners in planning, decision making, and implementation to achieve positive outcomes for forests and communities. This ongoing consultation led to communities receiving long-term stakes in the work through secure forest plots. used for sustainably managed small-scale commercial production.
In Zambia, a mining company partnered with the Forestry Department and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to manage a large forest landscape, including the West Lunga National Park, together with local communities to protect the forest landscape and prevent further deforestation.
Our analysis identified priority countries for applying the forest-smart principles, using the criteria of high forest cover, high economic dependence on mining, a high density of mines in forest areas, and significant greenhouse gas emissions from forest degradation. Countries identified include Guinea, Ecuador, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, and Indonesia, countries where the World Bank is active in both forest conservation and mineral sector governance, and thus well positioned to help bring together experts, governments, companies and communities to implement forest-smart mining approaches. By working together, we can utilize the raw materials needed for clean-energy technologies and conserve forests at the same time – protecting the world’s forests, reducing emissions and stepping up to the climate challenge.
This blog by Kirsten Hund and Erik Reed was originally published by The World Bank
Last Updated : 05-20-2020
According to WRI's ‘Global Forest Watch’, from 2001 to 2017, 337 million hectares of tropical tree cover was lost globally – an area the size of India.
So, we appear to be losing the battle, if not the war, against tropical deforestation, and missing a key opportunity to tackle climate change (if tropical deforestation were a country, it would rank 3rd in emissions) and reduce poverty. A key question, then, is what can forest sector investors, governments and other actors do differently to reverse these alarming trends?
One way to speed up our efforts is to proactively include the role of women in the design of forest landscape restoration and conservation efforts. It is only recently that people developing forest restoration programs have thought about their impact on women, and the risks of failure that come with ignoring women’s needs and potential contributions.
We know that men and women access, use and manage forests differently, with differing knowledge and roles in the management of forests and use of forest resources. Although there is still limited evidence of the magnitude and breadth of impacts achieved by implementing gender-responsive policies and practices in the forest sector, we are starting to see more evidence that taking into account gender differences could lead to behavioral changes that increase tree cover and improve the livelihoods of the poor.
Considering gender differences in the use of, access to, and benefits from forest landscapes has led to more fair and effective design of interventions and institutional arrangements that have maximized program results and successes in addressing deforestation in many countries.
For example, in Brazil, supporting women’s non-timber forest product (NTFP) microenterprise groups resulted in increased incomes and empowerment, as well as a reduction in deforestation. In India and Nepal, increasing women’s participation in community forest management groups led to improved forest conservation and enhanced livelihoods. In Uganda, a gender-transformative ‘adaptive collaborative management’ approach for communities resulted in tens of thousands of trees being planted by women for the first time both on-farm and in forest reserves, improved food security, and the election of 50% women leaders in forest management groups. In Kenya, the Green Belt Movement launched by Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, with women’s empowerment at its core, has planted over 51 million trees.
The thought of designing and implementing gender-transformative landscape initiatives of any type (projects, programs, policies, capacity strengthening efforts, etc.) can be daunting for development practitioners or decision makers without experience considering gender. It doesn’t have to be.
A recently released paper from the World Bank’s Program on Forests (PROFOR) examines the types of gender inequalities that exist in forest landscapes, and the gender considerations or actions that many countries are taking to address these gaps. It reviews and synthesizes a wide range of World Bank and partner projects and forest sector investments in different regions.
The PROFOR paper aims to stimulate greater understanding of potential opportunities by providing suggestions for gender-responsive actions that developers and leaders of forest projects, programs and policies can consider. Depending on which forest actor you are, applying and tailoring these suggestions to your context specific circumstances can ensure more effective and equitable impacts:
- A developer or investor in forest landscape projects can consider establishing performance-based contracts with joint spousal signatures for planting and protecting trees on farms, as well as near and inside forests, or including budget line items for gender-targeted NTFP activities.
- Governments, particularly forest-related agencies, can train forest personnel in the collection of sex-disaggregated data and inclusive, participatory engagement and forest landscape management planning processes, or facilitating registration for forest-related programs in easily accessible spaces where women already go (e.g. schools, health care centers).
- Investors, development agencies and private sector actors can find ways in which to make direct payments to women (e.g. via cellphone) for forest restoration and agroforestry activities or supporting rural women’s leadership capacity and strengthening activities.
PROFOR’s paper, along with a guidance note for project designers, provide many more examples of how gender analysis and actions can contribute in forest landscapes and of how this research is already being applied on the ground. For example, the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) includes several countries that are using this tool to design REDD+ readiness and large-scale programs that ensure women are partners in the planning, operation, and deployment of climate finance.
The bottom line is that greater investment in forest landscapes and agroforestry will be critical in efforts to address climate change and rural poverty challenges in many countries. The success of these investments will be enhanced by considering gender-responsive activities and actions when designing and implementing forest landscape projects and programs.
This blog by Patti Kristjanson was originally published by The World Bank
Last Updated : 11-11-2019
Forest-Smart Mining to Advance the New York Declaration on Forests and the Sustainable Development Goals
Forests are critical for sustainable development as they provide oxygen, significantly help curb climate change, are home to a majority of global biodiversity and provide livelihoods for nearly 2 billion people. But deforestation is accelerating.
It is estimated that mining accounts for up to 7% of forest loss in developing countries. “Forest-smart mining” will be needed to both minimize direct and indirect impacts of mining on forests and to pursue opportunities for positive forest outcomes. This will require public policies, corporate practices and multi-stakeholder partnerships to address economic, social, and governance drivers of deforestation through an integrated landscape-level approach.
This dynamic side-event will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the relationship between mining and deforestation, present new research findings on forest-smart mining, and provide an overview of the New York Declaration on Forests and its Global Platform. It will highlight examples of forest-smart policies, practices and partnerships and build a shared understanding of what changes, innovations, and new initiatives may be useful to accelerate action.
Side-Event at the UN General Assembly Tues. 25 September 2018 Scandinavia House: 58 Park Avenue, New York, NY 9:30am-11:30am
Find out more here.
Photo: Tom Maddox / Fauna & Flora International
Last Updated : 04-08-2019
Trees may not seem like anything exceptional, but they perform a myriad of services that we rarely recognize. From making cities cleaner and cooler, to providing economic lifelines to millions of people, trees and forests are central to our environment as we know it.
Unfortunately, global forest loss is at an all-time high, and unless we act soon, we risk unprecedented (and possibly irreversible) ecological changes.
It’s time to stop taking forests for granted. On this International Day of Forests, take a minute to enjoy the trees in your environment and to appreciate just how important forests are around the world. Here are five reasons to celebrate forests:
1. Higher incomes, more resilient communities
Across the world, trees and forests provide benefits to around 1.3 billion people, including as a source of food, timber, fodder, fuel, and habitat for biodiversity. A PROFOR study in five African countries found that trees on farms make up as much as 17 percent of rural households’ gross annual income. And in Lao PDR, research shows that villages with greater access to forests are less sensitive to climate change because they can to turn to forests for resources during hard times. Ongoing PROFOR work is exploring the ways in which forests might also provide pathways out of poverty.
2. More jobs
Global demand for wood is growing rapidly. By investing in the forest sector, countries can create good jobs, support local artisanship, and formalize timber markets so that wood is sustainably harvested, and natural forests are protected. In Colombia, a PROFOR-supported study estimated that the forestry sector could reach a production value of over $4 billion and create 35,000 permanent jobs in forest plantations and industries. Another study in the Congo Basin found that urban timber markets already generate USD $15 million annually and employ at least 5,000 people.
3. More productive and cost-effective agriculture
Far from crowding out crops, trees can often improve agricultural yields by improving soil quality and regular water availability. PROFOR research in Malawi found that, instead of subsidizing fertilizer, the government could save about $71 million every year by encouraging farmers to grow trees in their maize fields. And agroforestry is not just an option for small farms; private enterprises like Fazenda da Toca in São Paulo are proving that large-scale agroforestry is viable and cost-effective.
4. Lower risk of natural disasters
Forests are a critical regulating force for our environment. A PROFOR study in the Philippines showed that higher forest cover ensures a more reliable water supply during the driest months of the years, while reducing the volume of floodwater during the wettest months. Forests also stabilize hillsides by decreasing the risk of soil erosion, helping to reduce the impacts of landslides and other natural disasters. Compared to man-made structures like dams and, maintaining forests is a much more cost-effective way to provide these benefits.
5. A more stable climate
Not only do trees help to cool our immediate surroundings, but by storing carbon they reduce the impacts of climate change. Unless, of course, we fail to protect them. An ongoing PROFOR activity finds that the southern Amazon Forest is under such stress from droughts and fires that it might soon become a net emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2). The good news is that it’s not too late to start restoring a billion hectares of degraded forests worldwide. A recent report, funded by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and PROFOR, estimates that investing in forest restoration and increased use of wood products in six countries could result in more than 150 million tons of CO2 equivalent being sequestered.
Last Updated : 08-21-2018