The United Nations General Assembly has designated 2011 as “The International Year of Forests.” In order to bring greater attention to forests worldwide, it builds on the momentum generated in other international arenas, such as those related to climate change and biodiversity.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has produced its 2011 edition of “State of the World’s Forests.” The report stresses that the forest industry forms an important part of a “greener” economy and wood products have environmental attributes that would appeal to people. Wood and wood products, as natural materials, are made from renewable resources that store carbon and have high potential for recycling.
Towards a “greener” economy
An increased interest in social and environmental sustainability presents a unique challenge to the forest industry to innovate and restructure itself to be able to respond to the demands of the 21st century and to change the generally poor perception of wood products by consumers, who often feel guilty about using wood as they think it is ethically unsound to cut down trees.
“What we need during the International Year of Forests is to emphasize the connection between people and forests, and the benefits that can accrue when forests are managed by local people in sustainable and innovative ways,” said Eduardo Rojas, FAO’s Assistant Director-General for Forestry.