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Discussion Platform Forest Landscape Restoration

 

Climate change studies have shown that human activities are important driver of climate change. Find attached a one-page article on drivers of climate change (click here to open the article).

The authors of the article suggest that future land use and land cover change, especially the conversion from forests into agriculture, seems to be an important driver of climate change.

Have you noticed any forest conversion in your own country? What have been the major drivers behind it? What has been its effects? Who is actually affected by this? Can you give us some concrete examples?

 

 

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In the Philippines, most of the areas near the cities are converted into subdivisions while the forestlands are turned into agricultural lands because of its fertile soil..

Hello Myryl,

 

This is interesting. In the Netherlands, they are currently replanting the trees around the cities, in so-called "city parks". Agriculture is no longer profitable, while city dwellers want to have parks and forests around, for recreational purposes. Meaning that the recreational function of semi-urban landscapes is presently being valued higher than the agricultural function. Problem though, is the management of these city parks, since municipal governments have to cut expenditure (economic crisis, privatisation of public services), and our citizens somehow don't feel responsible for maintenance of their public space.

Hi, Myryl,

An example of a city with a small forestland around in Ghana is Accra, where almost all the forest lands have been cleared for subsistence agriculture and buildings. It was in 2007 that the government initiated greening Ghana project, for the planting of trees in the cities. We are hoping to get some forest land back. its feasibility is what we are waiting for, currently?

In the Philippines, If the forestlands around the cities are being converted into agricultural lands . Then what is the state of forestlands in the cities? Is it that no one has realized the changes in the forest cover in the cities? Are there efforts from city dwellers and/ maybe ngo’s to address this conversion of forestlands to agricultural lands? 

Major drivers of forest loss can be legal or illegal. In Ghana, some drivers of forest loss through legal means include forest exploitation for commercial gains, uncontrolled forest fires, conversion to agriculture, mining, subsistence use of forest, unclear or inequitable resource rights, infrastructure development. Some drivers of deforestation through illegalities include illegal logging, encroachment of forest reserves for cash crop (cocoa) farming, illegal mining, etc.

Conversion of forest leads to deforestation & forest degradation, loss of biodiversity and important habitats, increased  CO2 emission, climate change effects (i.e. increased temperature and erratic rainfall patterns, increased flooding), etc.

As a country, all Ghanaians are affected negatively, vulnerable communities suffer the most from poverty and deprivation, high cost of environmental damage, etc..

Hi Richard

Thanks for your response. Do illegal and legal activities contribute equally to climate change? Also does both illegal and legal activities have the same impact on all or vulnerable communities? I thought legal activities might be carried out along some rules hence might have less impact on the environment?

Dear Richard and Gloria,

I am a student from the Netherlands, currently doing my research in the Western Region in Ghana. I agree with your findings on the drivers of forest loss. I found that in the villages I visited most of the trees on the farm lands are cut for firewood or sold to chainsaw operators, after which the land is used for planting crops. Apart from some forest reserves, there is not much natural forest left.

However, when I asked the people if they experience large differences in temperature and rainfall patterns, the responses were moderate. They talk about heavy bush fires in the 1980s, but apart from that and of course the seasonal differences, they do not speak about big differences. What are your experiences? Are the rainfall and temperature patterns in Ghana truly changing in the last 20 years? And are the seasons changing (rainy season shorter/longer or earlier/later in the year)?

Thank you for your responses!

Kind regards, Astrid

Dear Gloria,

In fact it may be easier to quantify the impact of legal forestry activities on climate change and one may assume that legal activities should have less impact on climate change. However, the reality on the ground may not be always be true, especially when law enforcement and proper governance structures are not strictly followed. Furthermore, the scale of operation of the legal forestry activity also needs to be considered. On the other hand, illegal activities are often detected or reported after the offence has already been committed. It is logical to assume that illegal forestry activities might have larger impact on climate change but we may need to justify it and put it in a context of scale and other socio-economic factors.

 

Dear Astrid,

Your observation is true, especially so for the region in which you are doing your research. Currently, the western region of Ghana holds the greatest portion of remnants of "good tropical forest" in Ghana. Therefore, the impact of climate change if any is very moderate in that region. However, in other regions (e.g. Brong-Ahafo, Northern and parts of coastal areas in Greater Accra and Central region) the situation is different. I am definite that the responses you will obtain from these other regions may confirm some seasonal marked changes in temperature and rainfall patterns. Whilst you are in Ghana, take advantage and research in the other regions apart from the Western region.

 

Kind regards to you all, Richard

Hi Astrid,

It is nice to hear of your experience in regard to what you have heard and seen in the Western region of Ghana. As Richard indicated in his response the degree and changes in temperature and rainfall might vary widely across the country. From my own experience in the country, I came to understand that there are regions in the country where chainsaw activity as you made mention might not been carried out. But rather the collection of fire wood and seasonal used of fire in clearing lands for agricultural activities might be the cause of less natural forest being available.

Also when you have the chance of interacting with some villagers and farmers especially in other regions, they might inform you of variations in temperature and rainfall pattern of their villages. They might inform you of early rains than anticipated.

 

Regards

Gloria

 

Dear Gloria and others,

 

Thanks for sharing with us the document The root of the problem - drivers of deforestation in the global café. Really nice report, written by the "Union of Concerned Scientists". Never heard of that group, but since I am a concerned scientist, I may become a member....

 

Since not everybody will have the time to go through the document (although really worthwhile), I herewith give a short summary:

 

"Deforestation and forest degradation is nothing new, yet the speed in which it presently occurs is alarming. They are increasingly seen as important sources of global warming.

Drivers of deforestation and forest degradation are many: there are economic factors such as the global commodity trade, crying for minerals, timber, pulp, and other commodities coming from forested landscapes. There is a growing world population with not only an increased demand for food, but also a changing diet, demanding more meat products, hence more land is needed to produce animal feed. There is the global hunger for oil, leading to increased production of biofuels on former forest land. And there is an ever increasing local demand for wood (for both construction and fuel) and agricultural expansion by small farmers all over.

Urbanisation (as already illustrated by Myryl) may release rural pressure on forest land, but increases urban and market demand. "

 

The report is quite optimistic on reducing the global demand for those commodities driving deforestation, and the upcoming issue of REDD, which would be an economic incentive to conserve and restore the world's forests. I am however more sceptical, and really wonder if the world economy can continue to grow, without losing all our forests?

     I have to say, it is a controversial issue about what is the main driver to climate change in fact. There are so many researches protesting this idea.

     We should protect the earth ,but a real rational way .

 

    Nice to come here ~

Dear Hu,

Thanks for your contribution. Interesting, since you are from China, the fastest growing economy in the world, yet with a very solid environmental policy.

In one of the previous discussions, we watched the movie "Hope in a changing climate", a film from John Liu, showing the enormous restoration project on the Loess Plateau in China. We also learned from restoration of the Miyun Watershed, where local people are protecting Bejing from flooding.

Are you also involved in restoration activities? Can you tell us more about it?
Thanks, cora

    dear friends, I have taken part in a research about the Miyun Watershed some months ago. Well,the effect is obvious,but we must encounter the key point --huge investment . personally speaking,i do not think it is a sustainable way and  although we call it a pilot ,but the model can not be copied at all.

    I am thinking about whether we should find  a way, a cheap way ,although the effect is slow to be seen ,but can change the environment little by little.

   I look forward your instructions,dear friend~

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