The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development covers 17 goals, the 15th of which is “Life on Land”, namely: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Under this major goal, there are 12 targets, the 15.2 of which is “By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.”
The sustainable management of the world’s forests is at the centraltopicof the United Nations Forum on Forests, which opened at United Nations Headquarters in New York on May 8, 2023. Stakeholders from around the world, from member states to civil society partners, came together to discuss this critical planetary resource.
Li Junhua, under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs of the United Nations, said at the opening ceremony of the forum, “Forests are one of the most valuable ecosystems on earth and build an important social network and the safety net for some communities that depend on forests for food and income.”
Forests cover 31% of the earth’s land area, contain more than 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, and store more carbon than the entire atmosphere. Every year, we continue to lose 10 million hectares of forest, a roughly size of South Korea. The world’s forests are at risk from illegal or unsustainable logging, forest fires, pollution, disease, pest infestation, and fragmentation, as well as the impacts of climate change, including severe storms and other weather events.
It is estimated that globally it is possible to restore 2 billion hectares of degraded land. Restoring degraded forests is criticalfor meeting the UN target of increasing the global forest area by 3%, in time for the 2030 deadline. Doing so also helps countries create new jobs, prevent soil erosion, protect watersheds, mitigate climate change, and protect biodiversity.
The scientific implementation of sustainable forest management is the most fundamental measure and the most effective way to improve forest quality. In 2022, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration researched and formulated the “National Implementation Plan for Sustainable Forest Management Pilots (2023-2025)” and planned to carried out the pilots in about three years, focusing on 310units of forest management selected by each province, and explore the management, policy, investment, technology and security system with the forest management plan system as the core. Led by pilots and demonstrations, the quality of forests in various places will be improved. In the next 20 to 30 years, the growth of forest per unit area in the country will be increased by about 50%.
In 2023, the implementation will be organized around the pilot program, focusing on three aspects of work. First, China will speed up the pilot program. It will guide and coordinate the forestry and grassland departments at the provincial level to put the funds for the pilot projects of sustainable forest management to good use, and explore ways to implement differentiated subsidy standards according to different types and operational costs. Second, China will comprehensively strengthen management. According to the plan of sustainable forest management, the supervision of key links such as pilot tasks, operation design and implementation results will be strengthened. The main information will be uploaded to the forest and grass ecological network perception system, the management of “positioning through maps” will be implemented, and the results of the pilot implementation level will be included in the supervision and assessment of the forest chief system. Third, China will strengthen technical guidance. An expert committee on sustainable forest management will be established, and personnel training and guidance will be strengthened to provide strong scientific and technological support for the pilot program. A number of exemplary cases will be selected to lead the orderly development of work across the country.
Tropical rainforests play a crucial role in the healthy functioning of our world’s environmental system. They have specific regulating functions by absorbing and capturing carbon. Furthermore, the Congo Basin, also referred to as the second lung of the planet, provides ecosystem services (medicinal resources, food, biodiversity maintenance etc.) when managed properly.
With the ambition to promote sustainable forest management and to encourage certified tropical timber, the ATIBT’s mission is to raise awareness and educate on the issues at stake through its Fair&Precious program. This program was created five years ago and it sets 10 sustainability objectives for forest managers, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, such as, maintaining biodiversity, reducing erosion, combating poaching, training of wood industry players, and more.
From April 24 to 29, 2023 in Yaoundé, Cameroon, 22 participants from the private forestry sector, teachers and consultants benefited from training on andragogy and the competency-based approach. The training was led by Chantal Rieux, an international consultant in training engineering, and included a number of highlights during which participants were able to familiarize themselves with the concepts, methods and tools of continuing professional development. They developed training sheets and pedagogical scenarios based on the drafts of modules they already had.
A training-action on “Conflict Prevention and Management” which took place in Brazzaville from May 27 to 31, 2023, strengthened the capacities of a dozen trainers from Cameroon, Congo, Gabon and DRC who had already benefited from a training of trainers in 2021. They were accompanied and trained in the finalization of their continuing professional development modules and in the design and facilitation of a role-playing session.
Since 2004, with the goal of “improving the quality and efficiency of forests and maximizing economic benefits,” guided by the concept of near-natural management technology, and aiming at cultivating multi-layered mixed forests of different ages, the bureau has adhered to the combination of “production, learning, and research,” introduced the most advanced forest management technology at home and abroad, determined the corresponding management measures according to the forest types and site conditions of Huanglong Mountain, and constantly optimized the technical model during the implementation process, so that the forest management has changed from being extensive to being intensive, and from focusing on quantity to focusing on quality.
Through nearly 20 years of monitoring and comparison, the Huanglong Mountain State-owned Forest Administration Bureau has increased the proportion of high-quality trees after thinning by 23%, the annual growth rate of tree height and diameter at breast height has increased by 28% and 16% respectively, and the biomass of forest land has increased by 8%. The species diversity index has increased by an average of 18%; the content of soil organic matter and nutrientssuch as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium has increased by 10%-18%, which has effectively improved the forest structure, increased forest productivity, increased biodiversity and improved forest quality and efficiency.
By 2025, Shenzhen will fully establish a four-level forest chief system with complete supporting systems and smooth operating mechanisms, and the implementation of the forest chief system will show its results. The city’s forest coverage rate (excluding the Shenshan Special Cooperation Zone) will be not less than 37.4%, the forest stock volume will be not less than 4.58 million cubic meters, the natural forest protection area will be not less than 375,000 mu, the forest fire damage rate will be not more than 0.5%, and the disaster rate of forestry pests will be controlled below 8.2‰.
On January 1, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including 169 targets, of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
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