U.N. wants better forest management

Sept. 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- There is a significant potential for major economic and environmental losses unless steps are taken to reduce deforestation, a U.N. official said from Geneva.

The U.N. Environment Program, in coordination with a coalition of financial institutes, urged world leaders at the upcoming climate conference in Durban, South Africa, to include measures to finance the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation framework on reducing deforestation and forest degradation.

Christian del Valle, director of environmental markets and forestry at BNP Paribas, the largest global banking group in the world, said deforestation for crops translates into big economic opportunity for farmers but poses a major long-term threat to the environment.

UNEP said mismanaging forests could result in $1 trillion in global economic loss by the end of this century and threaten the livelihoods of an estimated 1 billion people.

"There is a price for soybeans, palm oil, beef and other products grown on deforested lands but not for the many critically important services provided by healthy forests, including the sequestration and storing of carbon," said del Valle.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in an August report said forest managers across the globe need to advance practices like windbreaks and mixed agriculture patterns to protect forests from extreme weather events.

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