Report Shows Need for More Forests while UK Woodland Declines

27 October 2008

Report Shows Need for More Forests while UK Woodland Declines

Kakamega Rainforest at sunrise, Photo: Melanie Szirony

Delivering his special report on saving the world's forests, Johan Eliasch Special Representative to Gordon Brown on deforestation and clean energy , said: “Saving forests is critical for tackling climate change. Without action on deforestation, avoiding the worst impacts of climate change will be next to impossible, and could lead to additional climate change damages of $1 trillion a year by 2100.”

The international community should enable rainforest countries to halve deforestation by 2020 and make the global forest sector ‘carbon neutral' by 2030. This is the recommendation of an independent report to the Prime Minister published this month, called The Eliasch Review, ‘Climate Change: Financing Global Forests'. It found that:

•  The international community should aim to support forest nations to halve deforestation by 2020 and make the global forest sector ‘carbon neutral' by 2030 – i.e. with emissions from forest loss balanced by new forest growth.

•  Reducing emissions from deforestation should be fully included in any successor to the Kyoto treaty, which runs out in 2012.

•  National Governments should develop their own strategies to combat deforestation in forest countries, including establishing baselines, targets and effective governance and distribution of finances.

•  In the long term, the forest sector should be included in global carbon markets.

•  Public and private sector funding will be needed in the short to medium term as carbon markets grow.

•  The international community should provide support for more trees and forests $4 billion over 5 years for 40 forest nations.

Johan Eliasch added, “Including the forest sector in a new global deal could reduce the costs of tackling climate change by up to 50% and therefore achieve deeper cuts in emissions, as well as reducing poverty in some of the world's poorest areas and protecting biodiversity.”

In a separate report by the Woodland Trust, ancient woodland in Britain is being cut down at a rate even faster than the Amazon rainforest destruction detailed in the Eliasch report.

Lake Wood , Uckfield. Photo: Robert Macleod

Ancient woodland equivalent to size of Birmingham is threatened with logging

Research from the Woodland Trust shows in the last decade 100 square miles (26,000 hectares) of ancient woodland in the UK has come under threat from destruction or degradation, equivalent to an area the size of Birmingham.

The shocking figure emerged after a 12 month study which looked into ancient woodland under threat in the UK. The threats come from developments including, roads and houses, airports, golf courses and utilities.

The research shows that over the last ten years 800 woods, covering a total of 26,000 hectares, have been threatened, which is five per cent of the total amount of ancient woodland remaining in the UK.

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