PEFC Bali: The importance of forests

About one billion people in the world rely on forests for consumption and income. Forests also act as a safety net in times of food and income security – around half of the world’s food production comes from diverse smallholders in the agriculture eco-system.

Other studies underscore the importance of forests and its impact on food security, nutrition, gender and climate change.

Non-timber forest products, for instance, provide 30% of the income in many poor households in several regions. The value that forests bring begets the question of how forestry can be managed sustainably for rural livelihoods and future generations.

This is the context under which was covered at the keynote session at the 2016 PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue on Thursday in Bali.

Dr Terry Sunderland from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Dr Sadanandan Nambiar (formerly from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)) shared perspectives on bridging the gap to find optimal solutions across productive land uses, environmental and development priorities.

Dr Sunderland said that forests are key food security because it gives income and food during off-season farming. Studies have also suggested positive correlation between nutrition and abundant forests.

In addition, Dr Sunderland also shared on CIFOR’s 10-year strategy (2016 – 2025) which envisions “a more equitable world where forests and landscapes enhance the environment and well-being for all”. He stressed the need for stakeholder engagement to make “landscapes approach” relevant for stakeholders.

Dr Nambiar added two tough challenges: perennial poverty in rural communities and climate change mitigation, stressing that any form of mitigation is unacceptable and unsuccessful if it is at the expense of the economy and livelihoods.

He also said that complex bureaucracy, politics, governance, high transactional costs inhibit progress. “Forests are invaluable for people but are there services to help the poor out of the poverty cycle?”

-> Follow our live update on PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue in Bali (Nov 17 – 18). #PEFCBali