FOCUS: Forest-friendly growth
Growing global demand for food, fuel, minerals and fiber are putting considerable pressure on physical landscapes and creating economic opportunity in places once considered too remote. Two years ago, Rising Interest in Farmland chronicled this land rush and its implications for developing countries. A forthcoming study on Deforestation Trends in the Congo Basin (Jan. 2013) highlights the role of sectors such as agriculture, energy, transport and mining in shaping the future of the Basin's forests. Significant progress has been made to mobilize funding for road and river infrastructure, for example, a welcome development which could change economic dynamics in newly accessible areas. (See executive summary in English and French). The challenge is to develop a set of integrated measures that can help countries leapfrog the most intense deforestation phase (see diagram) usually associated with rapid growth. The Congo study includes a checklist of "forest-friendly" recommendations by sector.
If the gravest forest threats come from outside the logging sector, interventions to protect forest resources and livelihoods must certainly go beyond sustainable forest management and certification schemes. That is the conclusion also of the new Africa forest action plan, informed by PROFOR-financed studies, which will guide the World Bank's engagement in the region for the next five years: "For many African countries, the most effective approaches will lie outside the traditional forestry sector," says the foreword. In practice, this will mean dealing with a larger set of stakeholders, addressing a broader set of land uses, and a more complicated governance situation, to preserve and enhance the multiple benefits that forests and trees deliver in rural landscapes.
Governance -- PROFOR staff will present a paper on "Forest Governance in Producer Countries: Creating the right conditions for controlling illegal logging and timber trade in Africa" at a scientific conference on illegal logging and legality verification in Copenhagen, Denmark, on December 6-7, 2012.
Data collection -- A group of forest governance experts will meet at the end of November in Brussels, Belgium, to kickstart the compilation of different forest governance data collection methods. This follows the publication of Assessing and Monitoring Forest Governance: A user's guide to a diagnostic tool.
PROFOR staff will be attending the 10th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests in Istanbul in April 2013. Look for us there!
In the last few months, PROFOR was pleased to receive renewed financial commitments from the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Finland. We look forward to further collaboration with our donors and partners as we program new activities.
What's wrong with Corporate Social Responsibility? What's pushing small scale miners into protected areas? Why is a rise in agricultural productivity not necessarily good for forests? Our video interviews on Vimeo deliver answers in 5 minutes or less.
We've also expanded our forest photo library on Flickr: browse our new set on gold mining in Gabon.