Investing in better forest management would increase employment and soak up more carbon
FUENTE – Businessgreen – 11/03/09
The UN says that countries such as the US, Korea and India have shown they can see the wood for the trees when it comes to the long-term benefits of better forest management – and other nations should follow that lead.
In a statement released this week, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said that millions of new “green jobs” could be created worldwide by smarter approaches to forest management.
The FAO claims that by investing in large-scale new tree-planting schemes and managing existing forests more effectively, countries could not only find employment for individuals who have lost their jobs in the downturn, but also tackle carbon emissions by addressing land-use change and land clearing.
“As more jobs are lost because of the economic downturn, sustainable forest management could become a means of creating millions of green jobs, thus helping to reduce poverty and improve the environment,” said Jan Heino, assistant director general of the FAO’s forestry department.
The FAO cited recent figures from the International Labour Organization, which stated that unemployment worldwide could increase from 179m in 2007 to 198m in 2009 in the best-case scenario; in the worst-case scenario, it could go as high as 230m.
But increased investment in forestry could provide jobs in forest management, agroforestry and farm forestry, improved fire management, development and management of trails and recreation sites, expansion of urban green spaces, restoring degraded forests and planting new ones, according to the FAO.
Countries including the US and the Republic of Korea have included forestry in their economic stimulus plans. Developing and managing forests is also a key part of India’s rural employment plan, according to the FAO.
As well as the economic benefits, better forest management and new tree planting could help tackle the environmental damage from reduced forest cover in some countries. “This would help to reduce carbon emissions from land-use change and could potentially have a larger positive impact on climate change than any other initiative currently being planned or considered by world leaders,” the FAO stated.
The FAO will address the issue of forest management at World Forest Week, to be held in conjunction with the FAO’s Committee on Forestry, on 16-20 March in Rome. Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, the UN secretary general’s special envoy on climate change, will deliver the keynote address. In addition, the FAO’s State of the World’s Forests 2009 report will be released on 16 March.
Author: A. Donoghue