International Day for the Conservation of Tropical ForestsThis is the 11th year in which the world celebrates, on June 26th, the conservation of tropical forests, for which Bolivia is the world leader in voluntary forest certification under the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label, with 2,042,856 million hectares of sustainably managed forests.
The International Day for the Conservation of Tropical Forests was established in 1999 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), WWF (the global conservation organization) and the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), with the objective of promoting sustainable and harmonious action with the environment and adequate forest management.
“Through sound forest management, we can guarantee their long term productivity, the maintenance of their forest-timber and non-timber richness, and the conservation of all of their resources, such as fauna, flora and river beds”, said Adolfo Moreno, Director a.i. for WWF Bolivia. “In addition to the important benefits for man, such as producing and purifying air and drinking water, regulating climate-temperature, rain, solar radiation and humidity, among others”, added Moreno.
Around the world, important efforts are carried out to protect tropical forests. A clear example is the trade component* of WWF Bolivia’s Forest Programme, which promotes the adoption of Responsible Purchase Policies for wood products and market links as strategies to contribute in reducing illegal logging and trade of wood and in guaranteeing the sustainability of forests worldwide.
Under this same logic, WWF, the Autonomous Municipal Government of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and the Bolivian Forestry Chamber, will inaugurate in September the construction of the Certified Forest Walkway. This Walkway, which is also an urban educational spot, was conceived as a green area destined to celebrate the designation (in 2007) of the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra as the World Capital for Certified Native Tropical Forests and its adoption of a Responsible Purchase Policy for wood products on behalf of the Autonomous Municipal Government of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The wood being utilized for the walkway is FSC certified. Also, the FSC certified wood sculptures from the two International Sculptors’ Workshops carried out in Santa Cruz with the Manzana 1 Art Gallery in 2006 and 2008 will be used to decorate the walkway.
To date, with support from WWF and its Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN), more than 20 national companies and the municipal governments of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and La Paz promote the purchase of wood products from responsible sources. The adhesion of the municipality of La Paz became official in June with the signing of the agreement for the initiative, an important step in contributing -through their acquisitions and example setting- to the conservation of Bolivian forests.
WWF’s Forests For Life Programme significantly attends to the causes leading to a reduction in tropical forests through its protection goals (in Bolivia we support the “Iténez” and “Manuripi” Amazon protected areas), responsible forest activities (management and responsible forest trade) and restoration, but the solutions also require joint efforts and actions from all levels of society.
- Bolivia looses 290,000 hectares of forest annually due to illegal logging and deforestation. 75% of this deforestation, in its various forms, occurs in the department of Santa Cruz.
- *The trade component of WWF Bolivia’s Forest Programme is based on two market strategies: For the national market: Cities for Forests Initiative aiming to commit local and regional governments, as well as non forest companies with social responsibility in Bolivia, in assuming a Responsible Purchase Policy for Wood Products, in order to promote differentiated trade and consumption of products from a legal source forthcoming from FSC certified forests or those that are under management. For the international market: Linking the Bolivian certified supply and in process towards FSC certification (over 50% of this is Amazon forest wood) with the responsible demand from companies abroad (in 22 countries worldwide), through the participation of Bolivian companies offering forest products in the GFTN Bolivia.
- The responsible purchase of forest products is an opportunity for companies and institutions to actively become involved in maintaining the quality of life and environmental services provided by forests through purchasing wood forthcoming from sound forest management practices (environmentally correct, economically viable and socially fair).
- FSC certified forests ensure the protection of water, soil, flora and fauna. Furthermore, they promote the participation of communities, indigenous people, forestry workers, industry and forestry producers, in forest management, allowing people to continue living and working, as well as obtaining income from the forests.
- For further information on FSC certification please visit: www.fsc.org.
- For further information on forest certification in Bolivia please see: www.consejoforestal.org.bo
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