reforestation

Forestation Management: Struggles and Solutions

Responsible forest and wildlife management is a beautiful and achievable practice, if not always easy to implement. To achieve this goal, local communities and governments need to work in unison to establish effective environmental policies and regulations.

In some cases, local communities will go above and beyond expectations in their sustainable practices. Farmers in the Himalayas use methods of agricultural biodiversity to promote a healthy and productive food system. These farmers plant shrubs whose leaves can be used as green manure to help fertilize the land. Additionally, these farmers plant fruit trees that attract birds and in return the birds will disperse wild tree seeds which helps the farm become more biodiverse and resilient. These farmers are also a part of a community based biodiversity management group that attracts a variety of stakeholders. This relationship empowers the community to restore and sustainably manage their landscapes to meet their needs. These sustainable management operations are forward thinking, well thought out and should be used as examples for other communities around the world as models.

Unfortunately, sustainable environmental management can often be an uphill battle for communities around the world where the local government has not put in place the proper investments or regulations to effectively manage forest areas. For example, Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve has been plagued by deforestation due to the rising threats of oil company operations, illegal logging, forest fires, and agricultural interests. Specifically, oil palm companies are compromising biodiversity and wildlife habitats in an effort to expand their business and make more profit. CONAP, the agency that has broad management responsibilities over 300 protected areas in Guatemala, only receive between 13 and 14 million dollars of funding which is less than 1% of Guatemala’s annual budget.  Additionally, it is very hard to make impactful changes as there is a lack of vision and long-term planning in terms of environmental forestry management. Instead, political instability leads to uniquely short-term policies that do not do much to solve the overriding issues within the Guatemalan Maya Biosphere Reserve.

In contrast to Guatemala, India has been given $6.2 billion to increase forest cover across the country from 21% to 33%. However, there is no clarity as to how governments will create these new forests and therefore it is not clear if they will attempt to move people off their land.

Therefore, it is evident that governments around the world must be given the resources and expertise to help manage their forests effectively in order to achieve results. Earth Day Network introduced the Canopy Project to conserve, restore and repair tree cover in 32 countries resulting in 3 million trees being planted. Additionally, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have recently introduced The Green Climate Fund, which focuses on the implementation of future broad scale projects that tackle mitigation and adaptation strategies for developing countries. The GCF has accrued $10.2 billion dollars from over 42 countries to help fund these large scale projects and aim to reach $100 billion by 2020. In order to achieve the results necessary to stop climate change, nations around the world must come together to protect the Earth and end widespread and out of control pollution.