A Better World - Volume 4

[ ] 73 L ife on L and C ontinuing degradation and loss of forests poses major risks to billions of people, especially the rural poor, who use forests for shelter, food, energy, medicines and income. Demand for forest products, especially wood, will escalate in the coming decades as populations grow and become wealthier and as certain non-renewable resources are replaced because of their negative climate impacts. There could be a resources crunch, but forestry can help avert this by producing more wood sustainably while also providing crucial ecosystem services such as those associated with clean water supply and the mitigation of climate change. Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land, captures one of humanity’s biggest challenges: to protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of forests. As a matter of urgency, forests need to be at the forefront of global sustainable devel- opment efforts. They can play a major role, for example, in mitigating climate change, such that combining forest conser- vation, sustainable forest management (SFM) and forest restoration could close the global mitigation gap by 8 GtCO 2 per year, or approximately 20 per cent of total emissions. Forestry could achieve this while also generating employment and income and providing social and environmental benefits. Forest conservation and production are not mutually exclusive. A multipronged, integrated approach is required, comprising: • Creating an enabling framework for forest production and conservation, including good forest governance, the rule of law, and equitable rights to land • Protecting high conservation value forests, especially remaining primary tropical forests, as a global public good • Restoring degraded multipurpose forest landscapes for productive use to reduce pressure on forests with high conservation and environmental values • Investing in productive forests for timber, pulp and energy and managing them sustainably • Reducing the production footprint of all agricultural and forestry commodities by managing and using resources sustainably and efficiently • Establishing verified degradation-free and deforestation- free supply chains and trade across the land-use spectrum in both domestic and international markets. The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) has been promoting SFM and supply chain approaches, encompassing all of these aspects, in the tropics for more than 30 years. ITTO members understand the importance of considering entire product life cycles — from the tree in the forest, to the finished product, to its eventual disposal — in order to ensure that the climatic, environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits are real and sustainable. ITTO has developed a suite of international policies on the conser- vation, management and use of tropical forest resources, and it has funded more than 1,000 projects to assist tropical timber-producing countries in adapting such policies to suit local circumstances and applying them in the field. Lasting, mutually successful outcomes will be achieved only through collaboration between governmental and non- governmental actors in the value chains. ITTO-financed projects are implemented largely by local partners in the tropics, thus helping to unlock the potential of communi- ties, smallholders and governments and to bring far-reaching changes beyond the project areas. The following case studies show how relatively small-scale interventions, if properly targeted, can act as catalysts for larger-scale change, improv- ing livelihoods while encouraging forest conservation, SFM and green supply chains. Conservation and communities Many indigenous peoples and local communities rely on forests for a range of products and services, but the establish- ment of protected areas can deny them access to these. Buffer zones around protected areas are crucial for ensuring that local communities have access to resources so that they can maintain and improve their livelihoods while also generating positive conservation outcomes. An ITTO project has helped improve the management of the buffer zone of the Pulong Tau National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia. The buffer zone, encompassing approximately 6,000 ha of forest, is composed of several ecosystems char- acterized by differences in soil and altitude — riparian and alluvial forests on low flat ground; and kerangas, mixed dipterocarp and montane forests at higher elevations. The buffer zone includes three sub-catchments that ultimately serve 300,000 people living downstream in numerous Productive forests — an untapped and underused resource for addressing some of humanity’s biggest challenges Gerhard Dieterle, Executive Director, International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO); Ramon Carrillo, Communication and Outreach Officer, ITTO