FAO: Plantations are not forests!
Since 1948 the UN's Food and Agriculture has been clinging to an outmoded definition of 'forests' that includes industrial wood plantations

World Rainforest Movement

Publisher:  The Ecologist
Date Written:  21/03/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20547

The FAO definition considers forests to be basically just 'a bunch of trees', while ignoring other fundamental aspects of forests, including their many other life-forms such as other types of plants, as well as animals, and forest-dependent human communities. Equally, it ignores the vital contribution of forests to natural processes that provide soil, water and oxygen.



A forest definition only focused on trees opens the door to including 'planted forests' - read: industrial tree plantations - a completely false way of 'reducing deforestation and forest degradation', as an option under the climate change convention through which carbon can supposedly be sequestered from the atmosphere and permanently stored.

In practice this is just another money-making opportunity for the tree plantation industry, and a major threat to communities affected by the trend of expanding "carbon sink" tree plantations.

Following the latest UNFCCC negotiations, countries have recently been revising their forest legislation, in the hope of attracting so-called 'climate finance'. Unsurprisingly, the definitions used are largely based on the FAO's forest definition.

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