Forest protection is a general term describing methods purported to preserve or improve a forest threatened or affected by abuse. There is considerable debate over the effectiveness of forest protection methods. One simple type of forest protection is the purchasing of land in order to secure it, or in order to plant trees (afforestation). It can also mean forest management or the designation of areas such as natural reservoirs which are intended to be left to themselves. However, merely purchasing a piece of land does not prevent it from being used by others for poaching and illegal logging. A better way to protect a forest, particularly old growth forests in remote areas, is to obtain a part of it and to live on and monitor the purchased land. Even in the USA, these measures sometimes don't suffice because arson can burn a forest to the ground, leaving burnt areas free for different use. Enforcement of laws regarding purchased forest land is weak or non-existent in most parts of the world. In the increasingly dangerous South America, home of major rainforests, officials of the Brazilian National Agency for the Environment (IBAMA) have recently been shot during their routine duties.. Another issue about living on purchased forest-land is that there may not be a suitable site for a standard home without clearing land, which defies the purpose of protection. Alternatives include building a treehouse or an earthhouse. This is being done currently by indigenous people in South America to protect large reservoirs. In former times, North American Native Americans used to live in tipies or mandan earthhouses, which also require less land.
An undertaking to develop modern treehouses is being taken by a company from Germany called "TrueSchool treehouses"
A compromise is to conduct agriculture and stock farming, or sustainable wood management. This ascribes different values to forest land and farmland, for which many areas are clear felled.
A number of less successful methods of forest protection have been tried, such as the trade in certified wood.
The types of abuse that forest protection seeks to prevent include:
• Aggressive or unsustainable farming and logging
• Expanding city development caused by population explosion and the resulting urban sprawl
Protecting a small section of land in a larger forest may also have limited value. For example, tropical rainforests can die if they decrease in size, since they are dependent on the moist microclimate which they create.
A recent discovery in Europe relating to forest protection is that urban areas have forests of their own. Many cities have tens of thousands of trees which constitute forests. In addition the air in the cities is lately becoming better, providing conditions favourable for small associated species such as mosses and lichens. There is an excellent article in National Geograhic October issue concerning redwood forest in California and their effort to maintain forest and rainforest..
Two conflicting studies on the idea that protecting forests only relocates deforestation. This is called neighborhood leakage. According to the paradox of forest protection protected areas such as rural settlements near protected zones grew at twice the rate of those elsewhere. The IUCN implements such protocols that protect over 670 eco-regions. 46% of the eco-regions had less than 10% forest protection. Which means that these areas are not being monitored as they should and the protection is not working. Considering forest protection within global priority areas was unsatisfactory. An example given was that the average protection of 8.4% in biodiversity hotspots. Results have policy relevance in terms of the target of the Convention on Biological Diversity, reconfirmed in 2008, to conserve in an effective manner that “at least 10% of each of the world’s forest types
Forest destruction produces about one fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than that emitted from all the cars, planes, and trains in the world.
Visit our new Climate Defenders Camp in Indonesia!
Ancient forests maintain the balance of life on Earth. They house around two-thirds of the world's land-based species of plants and animals. The remaining tracts of forests influence day-to-day weather and they also help keep the climate stable over time by storing massive amounts of carbon. Logging and burning forests releases that carbon to the atmosphere and creates global warming and climate change.
Major international climate negotiations will decide whether we can keep global warming at less that 2ºC average temperature rise, the safe level recommended by the United Nations. To do this, we have to stop deforestation right now.
Forests are vital for all of us
In addition to storing carbon, forests are essential for biodiversity, which scientists say will help us adapt to climate change in the future by supplying such essentials as water, food and medicine.
We have had some important wins over the last ten years:
• The Brazilian Amazon is benefitting from timber certification and a moratorium on soya crops that are grown in deforested areas.
• The Canadian Great Bear rainforest was protected in 2009 after decade long campaign by Greenpeace, Sierra Club and ForestEthics - a tract of forest the size of Belgium.
But there is a long way to go. To protect the climate and to preserve magnificent ancient forest for future generations we need to end deforestation totally by 2015.
Forests for Climate - a solution
Climate negotiations a mechanism for forest protection with funding from developed nations that helps meet their emissions reduction targets. Greenpeace has developed a proposal called Forest for Climate for this to happen in an effective, equitable way.