Why is Sustainable Forestry so Important?
Forests used to be all about timber production. Now they are recognised as being important for biological diversity, maintenance of ecosystem services and the mitigation of climate change. In April 2002, when the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity committed themselves to achieve a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity by 2010, as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth. This target was subsequently endorsed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the United Nations General Assembly.
Did you know that some 13 million hectares of the world’s forests are lost due to deforestation each year? And, the annual net loss of forest area between 2000 and 2005 was 7.3 million hectares (equivalent to the net loss of almost 2% of the world’s forests).
The Forestry projects we offer involve growing trees from saplings using the latest tissue culture techniques, nurturing them, harvesting them for profit – and then planing more trees on the same land. Which is why by investing in forestry you can also play a part in not only making profits, but in maintaining the eco-system and saving the planet. That is what we mean by sustainable foresty management.
Sustainable plantations partners minimise the use of pesticides and chemicals, and they are only used if there is no alternative. They also operate a system of intercropping, which means putting crops in between the trees during the early years to help provide cover and protection. The process introduces nutrients into the soil which in turn help the trees develop whilst also providing additional revenue and food for employees. This method is now widely utilised in ethical plantations all round the world. The cover crops grown include peppers, chillies, glyricidia (a leaf protein) and carrots. All surplus food crops are sold in the local markets, providing extra income for the plantation workers.