Increasing Forest Cover and Biodiversity Conservation
Deforestation is the permanent loss of forest land to other uses and it is among the most urgent environmental issues in Asia today. Forests provide clean air, absorb carbon dioxide, act as filters to clean our water, provide food and raw materials for shelter, stabilize soils against landslides, protect us from severe weather disturbances, provide medicines and many other benefits. Deforestation is of particular concern in tropical rainforests as these forests are home to much of the world’s biodiversity.
The loss of forest cover due to natural resource extraction, urban expansion, timber poaching, forest fires and agriculture increasingly puts pressure on Asia’s forests. Addressing these complex issues requires integrated environmental management strategies as well as the involvement and commitment of all forest stakeholders. Natural resource conservation viewed from a landscape perspective is essential if forests are to survive increasing social-political and economic pressures.
To do this, stakeholders need to understand the trade offs involved in balancing social, economic and environmental needs over the short- as well as long-term. By working with Indigenous peoples, protected area managers, community groups, governments and others over the next five years we expect to:
- Improve forest landscape planning
- Improve forest quality
- Reduce conversion of forest land to other uses
- Develop sustainable uses of non-timber forest products
- Increase participation in community based natural resource management systems