Mexico: Call to reverse the world's degraded forests


Huge international meetings seem to come along at a frightening rate these days. But frustratingly for environment campaigners they rarely seem to deliver anything of note (the acceptance of a strengthened GSPC in the recent Nagoya talks a notable exception).

So yet again diplomats from all over the world have descended on a somewhat obscure city - this time CancĂșn in Mexico - in the hope of striking a deal to save the planet from runaway climate change.

But although the abject failure of Copenhagen may stalk all future climate talks not everyone has given up hope. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) today put some of its eggs in the restoration of degraded forests basket. In the press release they suggest there are 1.5 billion hectares, or a gigantic piece of land the size of Russia, of lost and degraded forest that could be restored.

"Until recently scant attention has been paid to the world's degraded forests," said Stewart Maginnis, Director of Environment and Development at IUCN.

"Now is the time to recognise the potential of restored forests to deliver the double benefit of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and helping lift people out of poverty," Maginnis continued. Of course he would have been quite within his rights to have said triple benefits (biodiversity) or perhaps even more (water and so on) but the sentiment was good.

IUCN report their analysis shows that Africa and Asia seem to have the greatest promise for restoration - as each has about 600 million hectares of landscape for restoration.

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