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| Last Updated:: 06/04/2017

Role of forests in bio-economy immense: Experts










Dehradun: The third day of the Commonwealth Forestry Conference at Forest Research Institute on Wednesday saw a plenary session on “Contribution of forests towards sustainable development goals”, where experts spoke about immense role of forests in bio-economy.


Prof John Innes, dean, faculty of forestry, University of British Columbia, Canada, stated, “Forests’ economic values are increasingly being attached to varied services like carbon sequestration, bioenergy, provision of freshwater, recreational opportunities, and urban ecology, apart from timber. Hence, changing traditional forestry sector will need to accelerate if it is to succeed in the future. US $ 88 billion is derived from timbre forests globally.”


Speaking about the role of forests in tackling natural disaster, Anupam Joshi of World Bank, India, stated, “The life of hydro-power dams can be increased by good forests. Besides, the value of forests ecosystem should be measured in support of economic growth.”


Eva Muller, director, Food and Agriculture Organisation, Rome, said the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and sustainable development goals (SDG) would guide development policies globally during the coming one and half decades.


“Forests, which harbour 80% of terrestrial biodiversity, provide both sustenance needs and diversified economic opportunity at a significant scale and play a key role in climate change mitigation and adaptation.” she said. Muller also provided concrete evidence of the multiple contributions of forests and forestry to the SDG and pointed out some of the challenges with strategies to strengthen the role of forestry in achieving SDG.


On Tuesday, experts had expressed their concerns over inadequate research work in the forestry sector and climate change in most of the countries.


“Without proper scientific studies backed by data, the future planning and implementation in the environment is going to suffer,” they said, while stressing on connecting communities with the forestry sector.


Innes said, “Except the US, Australia, France, Germany and Sweden, other countries are not much interested in research work on environment, including forestry. Money is also not flowing to the education institutions working on these subjects. As Oxford University is no longer associated with Commonwealth, education and research on forest management is declining.”




Rob De Fedgely, national president of Institute of Foresters of Australia, expressed concern over steady decline in forestry research work in Australia as well. “We are paying too much importance to our political masters than people in communities. We need to communicate more with communities and exchange ideas with them,” he said.



Sir Harry Studholme, chairman, Forestry Commission England/Scotland, said, “It is difficult to make politicians understand forestry; governments don’t listen about forest conservation, which creates conflict. Foresters and forest experts too live in delusion and fail to explain well to governments, though they worry about communities dependent on forests and depletion of funds.”



He said those implementing polices come across as self-confident, but they are not experts. NGOs too speak with passion but lack knowledge. There is a ray of hope as the government will listen to science-based research for which international cooperation and collaboration is fundamental.”




“Viability of agro-forestry, where people can be educated about earning money, though it is quite important to connect them with forests,” he added.


Savita, director, Forest Research Institute, said, “India has been following traditional practices with nature. Flora and fauna have been part of their family system. India is committed to steer progress around cleaner environment, reducing emissions, enhancing carbon sink, capacity building and adapting low carbon lifestyle.”








Source: The Times of India