Editorial: Forestry commissions define regional priorities for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa
James Singh, Commissioner of Forestry, Guyana
In our region, the forest sector’s role in development is significant, and we, as sector managers, must transform our management of forests to ensure their sustainability. We can do this if we cooperate and if we approach our understanding of the challenges, and their solutions, within the framework for dialogue offered by FAO’s Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission.
More regional cooperation: the key for transforming forest management
Ending illegal logging and poaching in Africa must be the priority of all parties in the continent’s forestry and wildlife sectors, was the call of the Hon. Mutorwa, Minister for Agriculture, Water and Forestry of Namibia, at the 19th Session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission. And to help make that vision a reality the members adopted a Recommendation calling for the creation of a sustainable development goal on forestry.
African Forestry and Wildlife Commission urges visionary action
Towards EXPO Milano 2015
A high-level international panel presented the UN system’s innovative proposals for Expo Milano 2015 at a side-event at October's Committee on World Food Security meeting. Twenty million visitors are expected to attend the Expo, along with 1 billion virtual visitors, making this the key event of the year for the UN family as it transitions to a post-2015 agenda. Read more
Nutritious forest foods inform thinking on food security
The value of forest foods was the focus of an FAO Forestry side-event at October’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS) meeting. It featured field lessons and the launch of a policy brief on the contributions of forests to food security and nutrition, a theme reinforced at a CFS special event on the role of small-scale producers in strengthening links between food security and natural resources. Read more on the FAO Forestry side-event Nutritious foods from forests, CFS special event and view the FAO Forestry policy brief here.
FAO and Edmund Mach Foundation collaborate on world mountain forests
FAO is joining forces with the non-profit Edmund Mach Foundation to elevate the position of mountain forests on the European and international agendas. The two organizations will work together to strengthen knowledge-sharing and capacity-building, share good practices, assist in project formulation and implementation, and support technical consultations and awareness-raising internationally. Read more
European Commission strengthens focus on European forests
Increasing demands on European forests, coupled with other recent social and political changes, have altered the forest-policy landscape, prompting the European Commission to produce a new Forest Strategy. The product of a 2-year consultative process involving the Commission, member states and stakeholders, the Strategy awaits endorsement by the European Parliament and Council. Read more
Edible insects: a hit with the reading public
An FAO Forestry Paper on edible insects is currently the Organization’s best performing e-book title, with over 2000 downloads on mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets and e-readers. Launched at the May 2013 International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition, the publication describes the great potential of edible insects in future food and feed security. Read more
11th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification, Windhoek, Namibia, 16–27 September
Land and soil should be recognized as the foundation of food security and poverty reduction, said Uahekua Herungua, President of UNCCD COP 11. With an estimated 20 percent of the Earth’s land surface degraded, there is huge potential for reversing the loss of soils and biodiversity, promoting improved livelihoods and combating climate change.
FAO favours forest landscape restoration to combat desertification
Speaking at UNCCD COP 11, FAO Assistant Director-General Forestry, Eduardo Rojas-Briales, advocated forest landscape restoration as a pre-eminent means of combating desertification. Restoration approaches engender social, economic and ecosystem synergies and benefits and merit greater attention and action, he said, including the possible establishment of a UN land convention. Read more
Read more about FAO’s work on arid zone forestry, its participation in side events at COP 11 as well as some key highlights.
Stronger African partnerships for sustainable land management in drylands
A side event co-organized by the African Union Commission, EU, FAO and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, the WB and GEF on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative called for stronger African alliances in sustainable land management. The pooling of resources, knowledge and expertise would help boost livelihoods and natural resource management best practices on the continent. Read a news article and view a photo gallery showing the development of the Great Green Wall in Niger.
Escalating the fight against land degradation
A West African model for halting land degradation offers hope to communities worldwide that are struggling to survive in arid lands and can also play a role in meeting the UNCCD’s target of zero net land degradation. Speaking at a side-event at UNCCD COP 11, FAO’s Nora Berrahmouni said that policy change, new legislation and farmers’ tree ownership were key factors in the success of the model. Read more
Soils for food security and ecosystem resilience
The fundamental role of soil in food security, climate-change resilience and sustainable development was highlighted by FAO Forestry ADG, Eduardo Rojas-Briales, at a side-event convened by the Global Soil Partnership. Panelists stressed that ensuring recognition of soil’s significance in development requires robust interaction with end users and the exchange of rigorous scientific information and data. Read more about the Global Soil Partnership.
More action needed on dryland landscape restoration
Resilience in drylands requires more investment and support for the scaling up of forest and landscape restoration (FLR), including through sustainable forest and rangeland management, according to an FAO–UNCCD side event addressed by outgoing UNCCD Executive Secretary, Luc Gnacadja. GEF representatives said that, under GEF-6, FLR in drylands will be a focal area with increased funding. Read more
Regional forestry communicators work on strengthening collaboration
Regional workshops organized recently by FAO Forestry in Viet Nam and Namibia for forest communicators were important steps in the creation of regional forest communication networks worldwide. The aim of the networks is to improve collaboration among forest communicators in their efforts to raise awareness on forests. A global network, facilitated by FAO, should be in place by 2015. Read more about the Asia-Pacific Communicators workshop and the Africa workshop [Francais].
4th Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership
Greater focus on mountains in international processes and more commitment for sustainable mountain development were two of the Erzurum Conclusions adopted at the Mountain Partnership’s 4th Global Meeting in Turkey, in September. Members also approved a new strategy, governance document and Steering Committee, and FAO’s Thomas Hofer was confirmed as Partnership Secretariat Coordinator. Read more
Mesoamerican Indigenous Peoples define subregional forestry agenda
Strengthening local forest governance and developing a common strategy for policy advocacy in the design of FLEGT and REDD are key needs of Mesoamerican Indigenous Peoples, a Central American pre-congress held in Honduras in September concluded. The FAO-hosted Forest & Farm Facility indicated it will support indigenous groups’ inputs to forest policy in the subregion through a formal agreement. Read more
Norway and Germany support Ecuador in emission reductions
Norway and Germany have agreed to pay Ecuador for verified reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from forests. The payments will be used, among other things, to strengthen Ecuador’s forest governance, carbon reporting and REDD+ initiatives. FAO will support implementation through the UN-REDD Programme, and Germany will also provide a further US$2.6 million to strengthen in-country capacity. Read more (Spanish)
Upcoming meetings and events
Collaborative Partnership on Forests – events calendar, including:
New publications and videos
Articles co-authored by FAO Forestry staff published in specialist journals
iForest, biogeosciences and forests
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences)
Our forest, our future: conserving and managing biodiversity in the South Pacific, Gaua Island, Vanuatu – Global Environment Facility and FAO Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands
Pacific islands are on the frontline of natural disasters and their survival may depend on the integrity of their ecosystems. The video Our forests, our future was produced on Gaua island, where the Government of Vanuatu and the local people have proposed the establishment of a World Heritage site. FAO and the Global Environment Facility are assisting efforts to conserve Vanuatu's biodiversity.
Unasylva: a stroll down memory lane
In this series, we feature extracts from early editions of Unasylva, FAO Forestry’s international journal of forestry and forest industries.
Trees, food production and the struggle against desertification
In all the photographs attempting to convey the tragedy of the people of arid, drought-stricken Africa, there is a constant, almost permanent thread: whenever there is hunger, there is first ecological misery – lack of water, lack of trees, sometimes not even a sparse grass cover, but everywhere there is dust raised by a hot and dry wind. Arid Africa is naked, thirsty, hungry. Even more alarming, this parched land has in recent years stretched inexorably south. Poverty is now moving insidiously down to the once rich areas of the Sudano-Sahelian and Sudanian regions, the region of the trees.
In order to ensure a normal human existence, free from crises of hunger and in an environment with a minimum of stability, what can the forest and the trees provide in terms of food production and the fight against barren landscapes and desertification? It has always been recognized, albeit superficially, that forest and trees had an important role to play, and now this role is becoming increasingly evident. What seems less evident, however, is a real knowledge of the elements ... capable of restoring this role and giving it a significance proportional to the magnitude of the present problem. Equally absent is a full awareness of the steps to be taken and of the appropriate programmes to be implemented in order to achieve this rehabilitation and increase the effective contribution of natural plant formations to solving the problems of hunger and desertification. This means switching from bucolic amateurism to real food production, from small woods to the widespread and continuous presence of trees in the agricultural landscape of the area.
The variety and wealth of natural plant species found in forests, savannahs and fallows that can provide food are surprising. Especially remarkable is the fact that during almost any period of the year there is a species, a tree or a bush that can produce something to eat. ...
El Hadji Mbara Sène
Director of Forests of the Republic of Senegal, Coordinator of FAO's International Year of the Forest activities (1985) (and Former Director, FAO Forest Resources Division)
Unasylva, 37(150), 1985, pages 19-26
Recent forestry papers
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