To download a copy of the Conference Themes in PDF format, please click here.
Forests play a fundamental role in the survival of the world. However, due to human actions and increasingly the effects of changes to our climate, forests are changing fast. Deforestation and degradation continue to threaten this vital resource.
However, forests can be restored and whole regions, habitats and communities improved as a result. Forest restoration is about rebuilding these lost resources and putting forest goods and services back into their landscapes. Restoration can directly d help a community, organisation and even a country respond to the challenges of climate change.
The 2010 Conference will pull together some of the most influential and dynamic individuals with a professional interest in forestry to explore how restoring the Commonwealth’s forests can contribute to the global challenge of tackling climate change. Leaders of the Commonwealth’s public and private forestry sector will, however, look far beyond this and investigate how forest restoration can be used to tackle issues such as community livelihoods, food security, biodiversity, energy and governance.
Delegates from around the world will explore the role professional institutions can play and how their reform may contribute to the Commonwealth’s response to climate change – ensuring the Conference stimulates plenty of lively debate. The 2010 Conference will look to the future when it seeks to meet the challenge of identifying, supporting and promoting the next generation of industry professionals who will be responsible for implementing the Commonwealth’s answers to these global challenges.
There was great support for the UK to host this Conference (it was last in the UK in 1974) so we are working hard to ensure that this translates into a record number of delegates from all corners of the world!
Click on a link below to find out more about the Conference.
Healthy forests provide a huge range of products and services for everyone: from the medicines, firewood and ecological services they can provide to a local community right up to their global role of ‘locking-up’ carbon stores. However, only 20% of the world’s original forest reserves have remained intact, whilst 80% have suffered some form of degradation or deforestation. By definition, these degraded and deforested lands can no longer provide the goods and services they once did for society and their ecosystems. In addition, this loss of forest cover contributes massively to climate change, making the need for action even more urgent.
Forest Restoration represents a realistic, achievable and practical solution to global problems
It is often hard to find realistic answers to such large problems, but forest restoration represents a practical and achievable solution, offering real tangible benefits for everyone. This was recognised in the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report which notes that forest restoration - through afforestation and restoration of degraded forests – can, in the long term, play as big a part as tackling deforestation and should be at the heart of future strategies in the fight against climate change.
Forests have an incredible ability to restore themselves that is often underestimated. With our help much of this degraded land can be brought back to health – in a cost effective and sustainable manner. Forest restoration helps replace lost resources in the most suitable way, not necessarily aiming at reinstating pristine primary forest. Restoration must be realistic and projects from around the Commonwealth have already shown us is that forest restoration is an excellent way of serving the multiple needs of the local population, wildlife and economy. In this way the actions and results of forest restoration can help provide:
• food, fuel and building materials to many local and poor communities around the world;
• enhanced biodiversity to huge areas of important habitat, and;
• sustainable employment for many rural communities.
Forest restoration can be used by everyone
Edinburgh, Scotland’s vibrant capital city, is well suited to hosting such an exciting Conference focusing on how forest restoration can tackle climate change and a number of local issues. Scotland now has a long history of restoring deforested and degraded land and has learnt many lessons along the way. From small sites of just 1ha through to the landscape scale forest restoration which delegates will see around Loch Katrine, ex-mining and industrial areas and ancient Caledonian forest, there are a wealth of examples demonstrating how forest restoration can achieve great results in a variety of contexts.
Forest restoration’s value is not limited to temperate and boreal forests however, far from it. Examples from around the Commonwealth will show how projects in mangrove and tropical forests can deliver a vast array of goods and services for their local communities whilst tackling global issues such as desertification and climate change adaptation and mitigation head on.
Whilst the context may vary; rural, industrial, small and large scale, the themes and issues encountered by those developing the policy and delivering on the ground are remarkably similar. Whether in the developed or developing world, and whatever the context, the goals remain the same.
Forest restoration is as much about the people as the trees
Restoration is not simply about re-planting an area where trees have been lost. Indeed, it has often been said that forest restoration is as much about the people as it is about the trees. There are multiple factors and prerequisites that have to be in place in order for the restoration to prove sustainable. However, the Commonwealth does now have the necessary experience, technical expertise and knowledge needed to make a real positive difference to millions of people’s lives and contribute to the global fight against climate change.
The Conference will showcase this collective experience in order to:
• raise the public and policy profile of forest restoration;
• connect an international community of policy makers and practitioners, and;
• provide those who are in a position to act with the necessary tools and knowledge to make their own restoration projects a success.
Objectives and Outcomes
Conference objectives and outcomes
Far from being ‘just another talking shop’, the Commonwealth Forestry Conference will present a major international initiative to raise the public and policy profile of forest restoration. With the support of Commonwealth countries, this initiative will demonstrate the real tangible benefits that forest restoration can bring to communities, their environment and the fight against climate change. This initiative will also highlight how the Conference is far from being a one off event. The 2010 Conference will act as a driver and catalyst to the ongoing effort to influence the thinking of political leaders and civil society on the importance of understanding the key role that forests can make to tackling climate change.
The Commonwealth Forestry Conference provides a platform to address the challenges facing the Commonwealth’s forests and their communities. Although the Conference is focused on a unique set of countries, the messages conveyed are complementary to a range of processes and initiatives that affect the whole world.
The Conference will:
• Strengthen support for forest restoration and help move forestry up the political agenda by demonstrating that it has a vital role in combating climate change
• Show that forest restoration can also provide real, tangible, deliverable solutions today for local communities and the world’s population alike.
• Recognise and promote the role of the Commonwealth’s next generation of people who will be driving forward and delivering change in the future.
• Bring together a diverse selection of high level speakers to provide a secure information-base for the above objectives and help future generations face the continuing problems.
• Include organisations and sectors allied to forestry, such as finance, agriculture and energy generation who must all play a role in the struggle against climate change. The Conference will seek to clarify the connections between forestry and these other sectors and whilst it is non-political, will look to influence government policies.
Background to the Commonwealth Forestry Conference
The 18th Commonwealth Forestry Conference is being held in Scotland’s historic and vibrant capital city from 28 June – 2 July 2010. Following on from the most recent Conferences in Sri Lanka (2005) and Australia (2001) the 2010 Conference will see each corner of the Commonwealth represented at the world class Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Pulling together leading industry experts, policy makers, practitioners and researchers, the Conference has a long history of stimulating innovative solutions to the major topical issues faced around the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Forestry Conferences are held approximately every four or five years. Edinburgh 2010 will be the latest in a long line of successful meetings dating back to the very first held in London in 1920. As a result of these international meetings, Commonwealth countries have been in a position to confront common issues as one, finding new ways to work together and share the latest research and best practice. The collaborative initiatives that have resulted from the Conferences have helped to bind this unique international group together and promote global answers to global questions.