Although forests provide us with invaluable services every day, they are still affected by deforestation at a pace of 10 million hectares deforested each year. Collective action to protect and restore forests is more urgent than ever. These actions, closely complementary and both urgently needed, will together provide a significant part of the global response to the climate and biodiversity crisis.
Forests provide us with invaluable services every day
Forests create a diversity of ecosystem services essential for human well-being. They are one of the largest carbon sinks in the world and the main source of terrestrial biodiversity, provide 75% of the freshwater accessible to humans, form a natural pharmacy thanks to tree species with medicinal properties, are a real fence against pandemics, generate edible products consumed by 100 million Europeans, provide energy for more than 2 billion people on Earth... They alone represent one of the main pillars of human development, harmony with nature and peace between nations.
Deforestation and global warming: the challenges of the decade
Yet deforestation continues to rage, with 10 million hectares deforested each year, fuelling global warming. If insufficient action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, humanity is heading for a 3°C rise in temperature, which could reach 7°C by 2100. France, in particular, could experience heat peaks approaching 50°C by the end of the century. The need to reduce the human ecological footprint has never been greater.
Forest protection and restoration: two strategies to be pursued simultaneously
Over the past ten years, international texts and commitments that advocate the urgency of environmental preservation - and make the forest a central link - have multiplied, such as the Bonn Challenge in 2011, the New York Declaration in 2014 and the IPCC report in 2018. The fight against deforestation is also emerging in terms of the commitments made by States, such as France, which intends to step up its fight against imported deforestation and is seeking to change the practices of French companies importing products from deforested land, such as palm oil, soya, cocoa, rubber, beef or wood.
The urgency is indeed for collective action, with institutions and companies on the front line. It is therefore essential to support, in the coming decade, the protection and restoration of forests, which go hand in hand. Protection of existing forest ecosystems. Massive and quality restoration of lost or degraded forests. These actions, closely complementary and both urgently needed, will together provide a significant part of the global response to the climate and biodiversity crisis.
The golden rules of forest ecosystems restoration
Restoring a degraded ecosystem means aiming to recover the original ecosystem, before its degradation by human activities or natural hazards. For example, in the case of a forest degraded by deforestation, restoration can be carried out through the planting of trees that have disappeared from the area, or through assisted natural regeneration, which makes it possible to contribute to the restoration of forests without going through planting. In any case, forest restoration must involve quality projects based on key principles such as those defined by the IUCN in their Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) concept.
Thus, it is not a question of creating woodlands, made up of a single tree species and with the sole vocation of industrial exploitation, as it is the case today, according to the FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020, for 99% of the forests planted in Latin America in recent years. On the contrary, the aim is to use the diversity of tree species as an ally to recreate multifunctional forests, which are sources of numerous benefits and ecosystem services, and to fully integrate local communities in the service of global forest restoration. In addition, long-term monitoring of planted or regenerated forests is crucial for effective and sustainable restoration.
Reforest'Action's ambition: 1 billion trees by 2030
For 10 years, Reforest'Action has been fully committed to this vision by restoring multifunctional forests based on the diversity of tree species, in order to develop their ecosystem services to the maximum and strengthen their resistance to natural hazards. Our ambition by 2030 is to plant and regenerate 1 billion trees around the world, thanks to the invaluable work of our project leaders in the field. Together, let's take up this challenge! Let us contribute, massively and collectively, to the protection and restoration of the world's forest ecosystems. Because, more than ever, our future is called forest.