XIII World Forestry Congress , Buenos Aires, Argentina, 18 – 23 Oct. 2009
WFC – strong message to the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen (pdf)
28 October 2009 The Congress sent a strong message on climate change and forests to the upcoming UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December. The message stated above all: “Maintaining high carbon stocks by reducing deforestation and forest degradation and promoting the sustainable management of all types of forests, including the conservation of biodiversity, forest protection and restoration, should be amongst the world’s highest priorities for the forestry sector. Sustainable forest management provides an effective framework for forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation.For forests to fully achieve their potential in addressing the challenges of climate change, forest governance should be improved, financing and capacity building should be enhanced, and processes to empower disenfranchised people, including indigenous peoples and other forest dependent communities, be strengthened.”
HRH the Prince of Wales sends message to the XIII World Forestry Congress
More than 7,000 participants from 160 countries attending the XIII World Forestry Congress in Buenos Aires (18-23 October 2009) have called for the broadest possible coalition to address the many challenges the forestry sector is facing. A final declaration, adopted by the Congress, called for immediate “multi-sector responses” to rapid global changes. “Today, the major pressures on forests are arising from outside the forest sector, such as changes in global climates, economic conditions, and population. These changes are creating impacts across multiple sectors. For example, population growth and migration to cities is creating environmental pressures on forests and farm lands. These changes are occurring more rapidly than they did in the past, creating more uncertainty and larger fluctuations – global economic changes and fuel demands and supplies are examples.The path forward lies in shifting to an integrated landscape approach for confronting these changes, working with partners outside the forest sector to develop sustainable multi-sector responses. The accelerating rate and the dimension of changes in economic, social, and environmental conditions require immediate action.”
IUFRO: New study warns damage to forests from climate change could cost the planet its major keeper of greenhouse gases
At UN forum on forests, scientists release analysis showing forests at risk of becoming net sources of carbon instead of net sinks
The critical role of forests as massive “sinks” for absorbing greenhouse gases is “at risk of being lost entirely” to climate change-induced environmental stresses that threaten to damage and even decimate forests worldwide, according to a new report released today. The report will be formally presented at the next session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) taking place 20 April-1 May 2009 at the UN Headquarters in New York City.
“Adaptation of Forests and People to Climate Change – A Global Assessment” [pdf, 3.6 MB] was coordinated by the Vienna-based International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) through the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), an alliance of 14 international organizations that each has substantial forestry programs. …
“We normally think of forests as putting the brakes on global warming, but in fact over the next few decades, damage induced by climate change could cause forests to release huge quantities of carbon and create a situation in which they do more to accelerate warming than to slow it down,” said Risto Seppälä, a professor at the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) and Immediate Past President of IUFRO, who chaired the expert panel that produced the report.
The Panel provides also a policy brief “Making forests fit for climate change” [pdf, 1.9 MB] to ease the formulation of effective policies and management options for the adaptation of forests and the forest sector to climate change.
Here are the “Key Messages” from the report:
- Climate change over the past half-century has already affected forest ecosystems and will have increasing effects on them in the future. The carbon-regulating services of forests are at risk of being lost entirely unless current carbon emissions are reduced substantially; this would result in the release of huge quantities of carbon to the atmosphere, exacerbating climate change.
- Climate change can increase the supply of timber in some regions although there will be considerable temporal variations.
- The impacts of climate change on forest goods and services will have far-reaching social and economic consequences for forest-dependent people, particularly the forest dependent poor. Adaptation measures must go beyond single technical solutions and address also the human institutional dimensions of the problem.
- Sustainable forest management is essential for reducing the vulnerability of forests to climate change. The current failure to implement it limits the capacity of forests and forest-dependent people to adapt to climate change. To meet the challenges of adaptation, commitment to achieving the goals of sustainable forest management must be strengthened at both the international and national levels.
- There is no universally applicable measure for adapting forests to climate change. Forest managers should, therefore, have sufficient flexibility to deploy the adaptation measures most appropriate for their local situations.
- Flexible approaches to policy design are needed that are sensitive to context and do not rely on a single, one-size-fits-all mechanism. New modes of governance are required that enable meaningful stakeholder participation and provide secure land tenure and forest user rights and sufficient financial incentives.
- More research is required to reduce current uncertainties about the climate-change impacts on forests and people and to improve knowledge about management and policy measures for adaptation. Nevertheless, despite the limitations of current knowledge, climate change is progressing too quickly to postpone adaptation action pending the outcomes of future studies.
- Even if adaptation measures are fully implemented, unmitigated climate change would, during the course of the current century, exceed the adaptive capacity of many forests. Large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation are needed to ensure that forests retain their mitigative and adaptive capacities.