On the eve of the 14th World Forestry Congress to take place this week in Durban, South Africa, two of the world’s foremost environmental leaders – Kim Carstensen, Director General of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International – have met in Amsterdam to discuss the key issue of saving the world’s last remaining areas of untouched forests, those totally undisturbed by modern development.
These areas are often referred to as Intact Forest Landscapes (IFL).
“We see FSC as part of the solution to saving untouched forests,” said Carstensen.
“To ensure forests are protected, we have to look at the wider picture and approach the protection of untouched forests with a tapestry of solutions, whereby some areas are protected, some are reserved for Indigenous groups, and some are responsibly harvested in accordance with FSC standards.”
“Upholding the two extremes of certifying all untouched forests for commercial use on the one hand and strictly enforcing global protection of those areas on the other is not feasible, practical nor is it desirable.”
Greenpeace International’s Naidoo further explained the tapestry concept: “If we continue to treat protecting the environment and addressing the needs of people as two diverse issues, we will lose them both. It’s only by bringing these two issues together, understanding where the intersections are, and ensuring that we’re having a win for the environment and a win for people – at the same time – that we’ll move forward.”
“The struggle that we’re engaged in at a more macro-level, is whether humanity can fashion a way to co-exist with nature in a mutually interdependent relationship for centuries and centuries to come.”
Untouched forests, make up about 25 per cent of the current global forest cover spanning 64 countries. Motion 65, a measure proposed by Greenpeace and others at the 2014 FSC General Assembly, and accepted with overwhelming support from FSC members, requires that FSC develop formal mechanisms to protect IFL in its certification standards. In 2016, FSC is set to become the first forest certification system to include IFL in its forest management standards.
Both Carstensen and Naidoo will be present at the World Forestry Congress.
The Carstensen/Naidoo conversation can be viewed here
Lisa Smyth, FSC Communications Manager (in Durban)
Mob: +27 74 133 1847
“World’s Intact Forest Landscapes, 2000-2013.” Intact Forest Landscapes. Web. 21 Aug. 2015.