What is sustainable forestry – and why is it critical in mitigating against climate change?

Sustainable forestry is about caring for the long-term resilience of forests and is often wrongly associated with the environmentally and socially destructive practice of deforestation. Deforestation is one of the largest contributors to climate change because when trees are lost to forest fires or die and decay due to insects or disease without proper regeneration, the stored carbon is permanently released into the atmosphere. Forests are considered carbon sinks, because as trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the air, converting it into plant matter by way of photosynthesis. It’s well-documented that the destruction of these naturally occurring carbon sinks is detrimental to our environment and the balance of global temperatures. The commitment made in November 2022 at the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) is evidence of this significance, with leaders representing over 85% of the world’s forests pledging to halve and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030.

Deforestation vs Sustainable Forestry: Understanding the difference
Humans have a long relationship with forests. The practice of clearing natural forests dated from the Neolithic period where the transition from hunter gatherer to farmer began. From then to now, forestry has played a critical role in our societies and managed forests have become part of our cultural landscape, especially in Europe where they are the predominant source of wood fibre. Over the last 30 years (1990-2020), the forests of Europe (EU-27) have been growing, increasing by 10% in terms of area, and over 42% in terms of growing stock, despite increased rates of forest calamities. The environmental, social and economic benefits of sustainable working forests can have a lasting positive impact for both people and our planet. But what is sustainable forestry and why is it so important?

Sustainable forestry means regenerating and managing forests to provide important natural resources, such as wood and biomass. This can be done by ensuring harvesting does not exceed annual growth, supporting regeneration naturally or via replanting, and enabling growing forests to reach maturity. Sustainable working forests include well-designed conservation networks and other measures, thus supporting biodiversity and other ecosystem services.

Implementing practices that can support the regeneration of forests, such as thinning (the process of felling a portion of a forest to aid health and growth), can help to protect forests from natural disturbances while ensuring a sustained supply of resources. At a time when our planet is undergoing ecological stress and we grapple with acute socio-economic issues, maximising the benefits of well-managed forests is essential. Deforestation, however, does not take this balance into account and results in the permanent loss of tree cover as forests are converted to other land uses.
much more at: https://www.mondigroup.com/en/newsroom/article/sustainable-forestry/

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