Some 15 per cent of global forests are managed as community resources by indigenous peoples and local communities
The lack of participation of indigenous and local communities in conservation is one of the major barriers to mainstreaming biodiversity, according to a new report.
Interests of local communities are not considered while framing national forest policy and in the development of forest management plans, added Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Forestry report launched at the 26th Session of the Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) Committee on Forestry October 7, 2022.
The report defined mainstreaming biodiversity as the “process of embedding biodiversity considerations into policies, strategies and practices of key public and private actors to promote conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.”
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An estimated 15 per cent of global forests are managed as community resources by indigenous peoples and local communities, according to Sustainable Use of Wildlife report released in July.
“The conservation of the world’s biodiversity is utterly dependent on how we interact with and use the world’s forests,” said Tiina Vähänen, deputy director of FAO’s forestry division.
Indigenous people manage over 38 million square kilometres of land in 87 countries, coinciding with 40 per cent of conserved terrestrial areas with high biodiversity value.
The analysis also found that deforestation is one of the most critical drivers of the loss of forest biodiversity, with approximately 10 million hectares of forest being cleared for ‘other land uses’ every year. Agriculture is the primary driver of forest conversion.
Illegal timber harvesting, which accounts for 15-30 per cent of global timber production and 50-90 per cent of forest harvesting in many tropical countries, directly impacts forest biodiversity.
It also undermines efforts towards sustainable forest management, stated the report.
Mainstreaming biodiversity in forestry involves prioritising forest policies, plans, programmes, projects and investments that positively impact biodiversity at the ecosystem, species and genetic levels.
“It is about integrating biodiversity concerns into everyday forest management practice and finding optimal outcomes across multiple objectives, including productive economic benefits, maintaining or enhancing ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation,” stated the report.
National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and Nationally Determined Contributions to mitigate climate change provide the basis for developing sectoral policies. They offer an opportunity to mainstream biodiversity in climate policies in mitigating and adapting to climate change, the analysis observed.
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