WFC 2009: Zero Deforestation by 2020 a Utopia; Net Deforestation Reduction, not that Much

World Forest Congress 2009 Conference on Deforestation Photo

Photo: Paula Alvarado.

TreeHugger is at the World Forest Congress, which is taking place in Buenos Aires until October 23. With forests being a key element in the fight against climate change, deforestation taking 13 million hectares of native woods every year, and REDD being proposed as an important alternative for controlling carbon emissions, the presentations taking place at the event are of particular importance this year.

Deforestation was the main theme of one conference this morning. During the presentation, Mette Løyche Wilkie, Senior Forestry Officer at FAO, talked about the subject of 'Zero deforestation by 2020' target many organizations are requesting to leaders. The title of her presentation was, Utopia or realistic goal? Guess what."Zero deforestation by 2020 is an absolute utopia," said Løyche Wilkie. "However, reducing net forest loss 50% by 2020 is possible," she said.

The difference between the two terms lies in the balance reforestation and aforestation (artificial establishment of forests by planting in an area of non-forest land) can bring to forest loss.

Of course new plantations do not have the same properties than ancient native woods, but they do provide some balance for purposes like carbon sequestration.

In fact, 'net deforestation' was also the term used by WWF International's Forests Director Rodney Taylor during a keynote he gave on Monday requesting leaders to establish a 'zero net deforestation' goal for 2020.

Even though some organizations continue to request 'zero deforestation' targets, talking about net deforestation seems like a more realistic approach.

These details and concepts are of interest with less than two months to Copenhagen, where world leaders will seek to reach a new agreement to deal with climate change; and where developing nations like Brazil are being pressured to conserve their forests.

More info on the World Forest Congress: (in English)
More on deforestation and Copenhagen:
What is Brazil Planning to Propose at Copenhagen
REDD Copenhagen Countdown

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