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How sustainable forest management can enhance the worlds biodiversity

07.10.2022 10:26 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) Protecting the animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms that thrive in forests must become a fundamental goal of sustainable forest management worldwide, according to a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and partners launched today.

Forests are home to most of the worlds terrestrial biodiversity, yet forests and their biodiversity continue to be lost at an alarming rate.

Deforestation is the greatest driver of the loss of valuable biodiversity, with around 10 million hectares lost to deforestation each year, mainly for agricultural expansion. Other threats include over-harvesting of timber, invasive species, climate change, desertification and forest fires.

«The conservation of the worlds biodiversity is utterly dependent on the way in which we interact with and use the worlds forests,» said Tiina Vähänen, Deputy Director of FAOs Forestry Division, of the report, Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Forestry, which was launched at the 8th World Forest Week on the sidelines of the 26th Session of FAOs Committee on Forestry.

Inspiring action The worlds forests provide habitats for about 80 percent of amphibian species, 75 percent of bird species and 68 percent of mammal species. In addition, about 60 percent of all vascular plants occur in tropical forests.

The critical importance of sustainable forest management in halting deforestation and forest degradation, and the associated decline in supply of ecosystem services, is well recognized.

But, says the report, much more needs to be done to make sure that the conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity are embedded at every level of forest management.

The report assesses tools and methods of ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is integrated into forest policy, strategy and management.

Through a series of case studies from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Finland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and the United Kingdom it explores lessons learnt and identifies good practices.

The report recommended various measures and actions that governments and development partners can take to facilitate the mainstreaming of biodiversity in forest management:

Halting and reversing deforestation

Combating illegal and unregulated forest activities

Recognizing the forest tenure of Indigenous Peoples and local communities

Preventing the conversion of natural forests into monospecific forest plantations

Ensuring the sustainable management of harvested species

Managing and controlling invasive and overabundant species

Leveraging global momentum on restoration to enhance biodiversity conservation

Adopting a multisectoral perspective

Providing economic incentives

Facilitating market-based instruments

Investing in knowledge and capacity development

«We hope that the wealth of information and recommendations made in this study will inspire action from those involved in forest management and conservation,» said FAO Forestry Officer Kenichi Shono, who supported the preparation of the report.

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