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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

IUFRO report warns against forests as carbon sinks

The rising focus on climate change has led to a shift in the way forests are valued, with a new emphasis on their role as carbon sinks. The recent global synthesis report on international forest governance highlights the trend of ‘climatization’ of forests, which is impacting their ecological and social value. While progress has been made in reducing deforestation rates, there is still a growing sense of urgency around climate change, biodiversity loss, and social inequities.

The report emphasizes the need for policymakers to prioritize equity and justice in forest governance rather than solely focusing on deforestation rates. Market-based approaches, such as forest carbon trading, are becoming popular but have the potential to perpetuate inequalities and hinder sustainable forest management. Instead, the report suggests exploring non-market-based mechanisms, such as state regulation and community-led initiatives, to promote just forest governance.

The current landscape of international forest governance is complex, with various actors and instruments at play. Strengthening and coordinating forest policy to address power imbalances between different stakeholders is crucial for effective governance. The report calls for a shift away from reductionist approaches that prioritize short-term economic gains over long-term sustainability and justice.

In response to the challenges facing international forest governance, the report recommends valuing forests beyond their carbon sequestration potential. Policymakers are urged to prioritize long-term, locally driven alternatives to market-based forest governance and ensure a sustainable future for forest-dependent communities.

The report is set to launch at the 19th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF19) in New York and provides actionable insights for land use and climate policymakers. It highlights the importance of measuring forest governance success beyond deforestation rates to capture the interconnectedness between humanity and nature.

The Science-Policy Programme (SciPol) of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) aims to equip governments with solid knowledge for decision-making concerning forests, trees, and land use. Through follow-up studies and global assessments, the programme seeks to enhance understanding of the ecological, economic, and social aspects of forests and trees.

For more information on the report and policy brief, visit the IUFRO website. Stay tuned for the launch of the report at UNFF19 in May 2024.

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