World Forests Rapidly Disappearing
Deforestation rates continue to be shockingly high in many countries despite increased awareness that forests -which host more than 70% of terrestrial biodiversity- play a key role not only in sustaining the livelihoods of more than one billion people but also in mitigating climate change.
environmental networks called on the FAO Committee on Forestry to
stop promoting plantations and urged governments to immediately halt
the conversion of forests into biofuel plantations in their
Governments should also recognize urgently Indigenous Peoples’ territories, promote community-based forest management and restoration, ban illegal logging and related trade, and implement immediate deforestation moratoria.
FAO report notes that the expansion of large-scale monocultures of
oil palm, soy and other crops for agrofuel production has been a key
factor in the failure to halt deforestation.
report also states that "the potential for large-scale
commercial production of cellulosic biofuel will have unprecedented
impacts on the forest sector."
"If cellulosic biofuel leads to a strongly increased demand for wood, it will have a dramatic impact on the world's forests, especially in regions like Africa and Asia, which are already facing increased pressure on forests due to the failure to combat illegal logging and the rapidly rising demand for wood in general," said Andrey Laletin, chairperson of Friends of the Siberian Forests and focal point for North and Central Asia of the Global Forest Coalition.
driver for deforestation is illegal logging - 20% of the timber
supply comes from illegal sources. "Europe remains one of the
main markets for illegal timber despite a 2003 EU action plan to
combat illegal logging and related trade. Strong legislation to halt
illegal timber trade and to decrease Europe's devastating impact on
the world's forests should be adopted as a bare minimum – there is
no time to lose," said Friedrich Wulf from ProNatura / Friends
of the Earth Switzerland.
to the FAO report, illegal logging could increase due to the global
economic crisis, as it might cause a contraction of the formal
additional worrying trend is the massive replacement of forests by
large-scale tree plantations in many countries.
are not forests", said Isaac Rojas, coordinator of the Forest
and Biodiversity Program of Friends of the Earth International. "All
over the world, plantations destroy the lands and livelihoods of
local communities and Indigenous Peoples, as well as biodiversity and
water resources. They also store far less carbon than natural
they provide very little employment for rural people, tree
plantations are also a major cause of rural depopulation and a
further shifting agricultural frontier, thus causing the destruction
of forests elsewhere," said Simone Lovera, managing coordinator
of the Global Forest Coalition.
"By actively promoting monoculture tree plantations, FAO itself is partly responsible for this global trend of replacing biologically diverse forests with straight rows of usually non-native trees," she added.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
In Rome: Simone Lovera and Andrey Laletin - Global Forest Coalition: Tel: +31-6-15 34 53 79 (Dutch cell)
In Rome: Friedrich Wulf, Pro Natura / Friends of the Earth Switzerland: Tel: +49-176 85 32 25 10 (German cell)
In Costa Rica: Isaac Rojas, Friends of the Earth international: + 506-83 38 32 04 or 506-22 68 60 39 (Costa Rican numbers)