Keeping 1.5°C alive through the growing contribution of climate-smart forest products to the bioeconomy

©Sara Bray/AFPA14 November 2022, Sharm-El-Sheik, Egypt - The benefits of transitioning to forest-based bioeconomies while balancing both biodiversity and community needs is now accepted as an essential contribution to addressing the climate crisis.

Jointly organized by the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) & Brazilian Tree Industry (ibá), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 27th Conference of Party 27 (COP27), two diverse panels discussed the opportunities the forest sector offers across the globe to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

The event opened with a country-focused panel where speakers shared the successes and challenges of forests and forestry meeting the potential of both climate mitigation and fibre supply in their respective countries. Senator the Hon Jenny McAllister – Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Australia, highlighted the importance of forests in meeting our climate and biodiversity goals globally. Prof Lee White CBE – Minister for Water, Forests, the Sea and Environment, Gabon, insisted on the need for a transition to a circular economy to create more values and jobs within the forest sector: “Increasing jobs is critical for most of the countries in Africa” he stated. Ms Kersti Berge – Director of Energy and Climate Change, Government of Scotland, stated that forest industries are a top priority for the Scottish Government. Forests in Scotland will make significant contribution to emission reduction. Ambitious climate targets with a statutory requirement to achieve a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 have been set by the Scottish Government. Mr Jose Carlos da Fonseca Junior – Executive Director of ibá Brazil, closed the country-focused panel by emphasizing the key role of the forest private sector in providing ecosystem services. He reminded the audience that more than 1.5 million of trees are planted every day in Brazil.

The second panel brought on stage, the global youth and communities’ perspective on the challenges of forestry in meeting the climate goals.

Speakers included Ms Regan Pairojmahakij - Senior Program Officer: Landscapes Collaboration in a Changing Climate (RECOFTC), Ms Aditi Mishra, International Forestry Students'‚Äč Association (IFSA) and Ms Amy Duchelle – Team Leader Climate Change and Resilience, FAO. Ms Duchelle stated that “there is an urgent need to promote the use of more renewable products, including carbon-storing forest products, across sectors if we are to keep 1.5°C alive”. The evidence suggests that if forests are to contribute most optimally to meet our climate targets, we need to simultaneously halt deforestation, restore and reforest the billions of hectares of degraded land that exist across the world and sustainably scale up our use of renewable, carbon storing forest products.

During the event, a new report authored by Dalberg Advisors, ‘The growing role of forest products in climate change mitigation & the need for nationally determined forestry approaches to achieve net zero emissions’, was released. The study recommends ‘a call to action’ for countries to take nationally determined approaches to growing their sustainable forest industries, thereby addressing an emerging global timber and wood fibre supply gap as the world pivots to climate friendly fibre supplies.

“Half the dry weight of timber is carbon. Forest products in all shapes and forms are the best friend that climate mitigation has. The Dalberg research concludes that with global demand particularly due to urban growth, it’s critical we grow timber and fibre sustainably across the world to meet growing demand in the decades ahead.” said the ACSFI Chair Ross Hampton.

Click here to download the Dalberg report: “The growing role of forest products in climate change mitigation & the need for nationally determined forestry approaches to achieve net zero emissions.”

last updated:  Wednesday, February 8, 2023