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Powerpoints and speeches delivered during COFO21 and World Forest Week could fill an entire academic course load. Many sessions ran in parallel in the labyrinth-like FAO building in Rome. Here is a very short selection of the work that caught our eye.
First off, a diagram. Can someone please create a T-shirt based on this idea?!
"Rights holders are not people who are in the way. They are central to the economy," explained Dominic Elson, author of the diagram and a Guide to Investing in Locally Controlled Forestry, forthcoming. The guide was being launched at COFO21 on September 24 at a side-event co-organized by PROFOR, IUCN and IIED. The diagram presents the paradigm shift he sees as essential to achieving sustainable development -- and an entirely different approach to partnering with local people than Corporate Social Responsibility methods typically used by extractive industries.
Presentations from a session on the Role of Forests in a Green Economy (see ppts attached below) were full of interesting data, highlighting the potential to substitute fossil fuels and energy-intensive building materials with forest-derived products that sequester carbon. Adrian Whiteman, from the Forestry Departnment at FAO (co-author of Bionergy Development: Issues and impacts for poverty and natural resource management), described a shift in the forest sector caused by the decline of newsprint, with industry looking to convert newsprint facilities to producing wood-based biofuel. He cautioned however that biofuels are not always more sustainable than fossil fuels -- a finding that new data also corroborates.