News / Africa

Agriculture, Forestry Key to Mitigating Climate Change

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
Forestry experts say it is time for a new approach in mitigating the causes of climate change.  And while the 2012 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, brought no decisions regarding the important role agriculture and forestry play in reducing carbon emissions, some awareness was brought to the table regarding forests, and how forest conservation should be integrated into future climate talks. 

While historically both agriculture and forestry have kept a low profile at climate change talks, the 2012 climate convention in Doha saw some attention being paid to the important role forests play in landscaping, biodiversity and food security. 

Peter Holmgren, director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), is already looking ahead to the planned 2015 climate agreement. In his view of the Doha talks,  it is time to rethink approaches in agriculture and forestry so that the two green sectors play a more prominent role in future climate talks.

“When it comes to forestry, the attention has been high for the last five years.  I think this was the first time we saw a little bit of a decline in the agreement on forestry.  Agriculture was absent from the talks all together, as it appears,” stated Holmgren. 

He said he observed that while no decisive action was taken regarding conservation of forestry and agriculture at the talks, he is optimistic that the two sectors will play a bigger role in climate change talks in the future, “I think it reflects mainly that the focus of the negotiations was to keep the negotiations alive, and that to some extent was successful.  But as a result of that, the focus on the substance of agriculture and forestry was not there.”  

Holmgren acknowledges that in order to put forest conservation in the forefront, the international community must recognize the vital role forests play in combating climate change.

“Everybody recognizes that forests and forestry provides many benefits to rural populations all over the world.  The livelihoods are supported by many different products and services from the forests.  And if we can include also climate change actions into those livelihoods benefits, then we are doing well.”  

Deforestation, the turning of forests into non-forest land use, continues to severely impact the livelihoods of those who depend on forests for survival. While deforestation uses the converted land for urban growth, wastelands, logging, and agriculture, it contributes to a significant reduction of biodiversity, as well as climate change, Holmgren noted,

“Deforestation is effectively the expansion of agriculture.  So what needs to happen is to work together between the agriculture and forestry sectors to find solutions at the landscape level," he said.

Scientists say this means that both agriculture and forests must be examined together in terms of the vital role both play in providing sustainable development and food security for billions of people.

“It’s important to include all aspects of forestry into the research, because there are so many different benefits that we have from forests.  Biodiversity represents a lot of these benefits because it serves local people in products from the forests.  It also makes sure that we conserve biodiversity for future generations,” explained Holmgren.  

Scientists agree that the research should also include biodiversity and socio-economic research, not just the monitoring of forests.  In doing this, Holmgren said it is important to make sure the research is done at the local level.

“Some forestry issues need to be addressed at the national or even global level, such as the climate change action.  But most of the action needs to happen at the local level, because that’s where the stakeholders are,” he said. 

The stakeholders are the small-holder farmers and rural population that depend on services and products from forests.  Holmgren explained that these stakeholders must be included in future climate talks.

“I would like to see a concerted effort to join forces between the forestry and agriculture sectors, because I can see that moving towards the climate agreement in 2015, this could be a way to put those issues on the table for the negotiations," he said.

Holmgren emphasized that action must also be taken in order to bring the point home, at the negotiating table, of the importance of including agriculture and forestry in the climate talks. One such example is Forest Day.

“We already have a platform in the negotiation complex that’s called Forest Day.  We are now planning to join forces with the Agriculture Day and create what we call a Landscape Day, and that will be an extremely important forum to discuss these issues,” he said.

Holmgren explained these types of activities are important because they involve the stakeholders.

"The key for me is that the local stakeholders are aware of their options and, their opportunities for the future," he said.  "So we need more research to provide those options – management opportunities so that the local stakeholders can manage the natural resources.  At the end of the day it is the billions of farmers and local stakeholders that will determine if we go in the right direction when it comes to forestry and agriculture.”

Holmgren added that the key to green growth in Africa and other areas of the world is to focus on agriculture and forestry because they are a very large portion of the economy.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid