IUCN European Regional Director, Luc Bas, makes the case for continued dialogue between foresters and nature conservationists to preserve forest ecosystem services for the benefit of both people and nature.
Earth Day 2020 marks 50 years of action for the planet. This year, the focus of Earth Day is climate action, calling for the greater urgency and ambition we need to tackle the climate crisis and embrace the benefits of a zero-carbon future. Forests play a central role. They contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as provide livelihoods for people, clean water, space for recreation and clean air. They support numerous species and are critical in the fight against biodiversity loss. But how can these demands on forests be reconciled?
In this new video interview, filmed at the EFI conference ‘Governing and managing forests for multiple ecosystem services’, IUCN European Regional Director, Luc Bas, tackles this question.
The priority is to protect the pristine nature that still exists, based on proper valuation of its benefits. Restoring degraded lands into flourishing lands, with healthier soils and habitats, is an even easier investment case to make, and is particularly important during the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. In this context, it is puzzling that Europe, with the exception of Scotland, has not yet contributed to the Bonn Challenge to bring 350 million hectares of deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2030. Healthy and functioning ecosystems are the basis of both our livelihoods and biodiversity conservation.
Our current consumption in Europe causes a lot of land and forest degradation that is not directly visible to us. Luc emphasises that alongside forest protection and restoration, it is vital that we change and also reduce, in absolute terms, our consumption, and that forest products need to be sourced from certified and well-managed forests. Luc concludes:
‘If we see the Sustainable Development Goals with the biosphere as the bottom line, the social wellbeing built upon that, and only then can we have a successful economy, my hopes are high.’