029_Global13_Insight_Forestry

Global 13

Global InsightSustainable Forestry “Asia is a paradigm in turning the tide of deforestation” IntERvIEw Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director- Credit: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano General, Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) As increasing attention is now being given to the benefits of forests and to sustainable forest management, the worst phase of deforestation has already passed, says Eduardo Rojas-Briales. Following the examples of success in a number of developing countries, particularly in Asia, he stresses that others will need to work hard over the coming decades to improve their forest services and protect their forest reserves Global: What is the Collaborative Partnership on Forests? How best can the in-country capacity of developing countries be Eduardo Rojas-Briales: The CPF has basically two main functions: enhanced to ensure better forest management? supporting the international dialogue and negotiations on forest issues Capacity-building elements like forest education or extension have re- in the framework of the UN Forum on Forests; and, second, strength- ceived less attention over the past 30 years, especially in Africa. With- ening cooperation and coordination between the 14 CPF members on out skilled personnel at all levels it is impossible to take advantage of forest issues, overcoming duplication of work and joining forces. the existing potential. Vast afforestation the planting of trees on previ- ously non-forested land plans are emerging now in countries with a Do you foresee the issues around forestry management and sus- critical lack of vocational foresters that cannot be improvised. Public tainability ever becoming more of a political priority, especially in forest services, like many other public services, need to evolve with developing countries? time, overcome monopolistic tendencies, and integrate local commu- Our information confirms that the worst phase of deforestation, from nities and small and medium enterprises into forest management. a global perspective, has passed. Increasing attention will be given to the environmental services offered by forests, the opportunity to To what extent are some developing countries already showing the restore forest cover and the sustainable supply of key renewable raw way ahead in forest management, and how likely is it that other material for green building, emerging bio-materials and bio-energy. countries can and will learn valuable lessons from their experience? Asia is a paradigm of turning the tide in deforestation. In 20 years, At a time when forest plantations are increasing rapidly in many it has turned from a deforesting region to become the leader in countries, what do you see as necessary to ensure adequate forest restoration. But Latin America and Africa too, whilst still supervision and safeguards against degradation? deforesting from a regional perspective, include countries that are If plantations do not directly substitute native forests and are placed performing very satisfactorily. in degraded or marginal agricultural land, they can be an excellent During the past two decades, a negative approach has prevailed complementary source of income for rural populations without af- which has hindered mobilisation of the action needed. We need to fecting biodiversity or food security; on the contrary, they can sup- change the strategy and move towards a positive and encouraging port both. It is an issue of land use planning and how plantations strategy based on identifying the champions and the key reasons are designed and managed, and not a matter of principle. for their success, and upscaling their experience. This is a much more promising approach. Do you think international bodies and government authorities are making progress in improving land use planning for more rational Are you optimistic that the current rate of deforestation, especially management of forest resources? in Africa and Latin America, can be reversed in the near future? Land use planning is crucial if we want to meet the rising demands If Asia has been able to do so and if some countries in Africa and Lat- of 9 billion people, including a growing middle class, by 2050. Much in America have done so as well, as have Europe and North America better land use, including forest landscape restoration, is needed to previously, there is no reason why it should not also be possible in cope with this challenge. The responsibility lies with countries. Multi- Africa or Latin America. For sure, inclusive socio-economic devel- lateral and bilateral partners can only offer their technical knowledge opment, security, political stability and urbanisation are supportive and resources to strengthen country capacity in this regard. Increasing elements that need to be pushed by a decisive political prioritisation. recognition of the need to approach these challenges from a landscape This can be observed in all the championing countries like Vietnam, perspective puts land use planning at the centre of attention. China, Costa Rica, Chile, Rwanda, Gambia and others. globalfirst quarter 2013 www.global-briefing.org l29


Global 13
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