Main-Streaming Biodiversity Helps Forest Protection

With around 10 million hectares lost to deforestation each year, mainly for agricultural expansion, main-streaming biodiversity in production forests is of paramount importance to stem biodiversity loss, states the latest FAO report “Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Forestry”. 

The FAO also maintains that sustainable management of production forests can also provide the much needed finance and incentives for biodiversity conservation. Protecting the animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms that thrive in forests must become a fundamental goal of sustainable forest management worldwide, the report by FAO and its partners said.

In the Foreword,  FAO Forestry Division, Deputy DirectorTiina Vähänenand Director General of CIFORRobert Nasi said; “ We hope that the wealth of information and suggestions included in this study will inspire relevant actors in the forest sector to further strengthen management of forests for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Building upon the main findings and recommendations of this study, strategies for main-streaming biodiversity in the forest sector could be elaborated at different scales (from the regional, national to the local level), involving broad stakeholder consultations, and strengthening the voice of Indigenous Peoples and local communities as custodians of forests and biodiversity.”

CONSERVATION

Even though biodiversity conservation has been an important global agenda for at least three decades, forest biodiversity continues to be lost at an alarming rate. Deforestation is the single most important driver of forest biodiversity loss, the report said.

The global commitment taken during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 will be critical to stem global biodiversity loss, as well as contribute to achieving the +1.5 ° C climate target of the Paris Agreement.

Forest biodiversity is also being eroded over enormous areas through forest degradation, in particular by over harvesting of timber species, other valuable plants and wildlife, as well as from invasive species, fires, pests and diseases, the report said. Biodiversity loss compromises the ecological functioning and stability of forests, therefore undermining the provision of ecosystem services to humanity. Ample scientific evidence shows that sustainable forest management (SFM) can help stem bio diversity losses and secure sustainable benefits, the authors said.

MAIN STREAMING

Main-streaming bio diversity is “the process of embedding bio diversity considerations into policies, strategies and practices of key public and private actors to promote conservation and sustainable use of natural resources”. It involves prioritizing forest policies, plans, programmes, projects and investments that have a positive impact on bio diversity at the ecosystem, species and genetic levels. It is about integrating biodiversity concerns into everyday forest management practice and finding optimal outcomes across multiple objectives, including productive economic benefits, maintaining or enhancing ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation.

The report points out that main- streaming biodiversity requires both regulation and steering, and there should be a strong focus on landscape approaches including SFM. There is a wide variety of approaches and instruments for main-streaming bio diversity in forestry, including spatial planning-based approaches, species-based approaches, regulatory instruments, economic instruments, market-based instruments, participatory forest management, and support for knowledge and capacity development.

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.

RECOMMENDATIONS
  • 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 mono specific forest plantations
  • Ensuring the sustainable management of harvested species
  • Managing and controlling invasive and over abundant species
  • Leveraging global momentum on restoration to enhance biodiversity conservation
  • Adopting a multi sectoral perspective
  • Providing economic incentives
  • Facilitating market-based instruments
  • Investing in knowledge and capacity development

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