World leaders pledge to end deforestation by 2030
âWhat we’re doing here is trying to change the economy on the ground so that forests are worth more alive than dead,â said Eron Bloomgarden, whose group, Emergent, helps match public and private investors. with forest countries and provinces seeking to receive payments. to reduce deforestation.
Participating governments pledged “support to smallholders, indigenous peoples and local communities, who depend on forests for their livelihoods and play a key role in their management.”
A growing body of research shows that nature is healthier on more than a quarter of the world’s land that indigenous peoples manage or own. But they receive less than one percent of climate funding aimed at reducing deforestation in tropical countries, according to Rainforest Foundation Norway.
Tuntiak Katan, the general coordinator of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities and a member of the Shuar people in the Ecuadorian Amazon, praised the support for indigenous and local communities, but questioned throwing money at a system that ‘he considers broken. âIf this funding does not work directly and side by side with indigenous peoples, it will not have the necessary impact,â he said.
The value of healthy forests goes far beyond their ability to store carbon. They filter water, cool the air and even make rain, supporting agriculture elsewhere. They are also essential for maintaining biodiversity, which suffers its own crisis as extinction rates increase. This year, however, scientists have found that parts of the Amazon have started to emit more carbon than they take in, as drier conditions and increased deforestation have resulted in more fires and a degraded ecosystem. .
China is one of the biggest signatories to the deforestation declaration, but the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping, did not attend the climate talks in Glasgow. China has suffered heavy forest losses as its population and industry have grown over the past decades, although more recently it has made a commitment to regrowth forests and develop sustainable tree cultivation. .
According to China’s estimates, forests now cover about 23 percent of its land mass, up from 17 percent in 1990, according to the World Bank. Although some research has questioned the extent and quality of this extensive tree cover, the government has made extensive reforestation a pillar of its climate policies, and many parts of the country are significantly greener than they are. were a few decades ago.